Santi Denia stands up to rubialismo | Soccer | Sports

Santi Denia
Santi Denia, at the press conference to call up the sub-21.AFP7 (Getty Images)

The most absolutist death rattles of rubialismo are still trapped in the Ciudad del Fútbol de Las Rozas. The headquarters of the Spanish Football Federation has been transformed into an Orwellian Big Brother where those most faithful to Luis Rubiales claim to be the eyes that see everything, the ears that listen to everything and the mouths that sing everything. The U-21 coach Santi Denia knows this well, erected as a symbol of dignity by not applauding the macho speech that Luis Rubiales delivered at the assembly on August 25. Since then, the former Atlético player, a member of the historic team that won the double (League and Cup) in 1996, has been closely monitored by inspectors who intimidate employees who are confused and fearful of the tsunami that the institution is experiencing.

Last Friday, shortly after offering the list of summoned -First it was Luis de la Fuente-, Santi Denia verified first-hand that authoritarianism intensifies when the established powers crack. Francis Hernández, a man related to Rubiales and coordinator of the lower categories of the federation, vehemently showed Santi Denia his disagreement with his intervention at the press conference. In it, he reaffirmed his decision not to applaud that speech crowned with “false feminism in Spain is a scourge.” “I have made many mistakes in my life and age and gray hair make me more reflective. I analyzed and reacted how I felt, it came out not to applaud ”, explained Santi Denia on Friday. Opposite, Francis Hernández was upset.

Federal sources assure that Hernández’s tone was raised and unpleasant towards the U-21 coach. His anger was heard by some workers and federal employees between astonishment and indignation. Some witness, although he knew of the fidelity of the federal grassroots soccer coordinator towards Rubiales, was perplexed by the ways he used. “It was the attitude of a Taliban of Rubialismo,” state federal sources that confirmed the facts.

The fights do not go with Santi Denia. They are not his style or his upbringing. In his playing days, he was a quiet center back. A quiet and educated defender who played more than hit in that historic Atlético de Madrid team of Kiko, Sorozábal, Pantic, Vizcaíno, Simeone, Molina, Caminero, Penev…

Neither the hubbub nor the controversies that Jesús Gil —owner of the club— carried out almost daily were never to his liking. Federation employees who have talked with Denia about the matter have found his calm and good nature as a response. “He wants to focus on what he calls his boys,” says an employee from Ciudad del Fútbol.

In the federation, there are those who wonder how it is possible that someone with little curriculum in football, beyond having played in the Third Division, can thus address a person like Santi Denia, with much more experience. Hernández, from Granada like Rubiales, joined the federation in 2018, shortly after the president provisionally suspended by FIFA for 90 days won his first elections. His entry into the sports organization chart meant that Ginés Meléndez, the man who developed grassroots football that ended up giving Spain its first World Cup in 2010, chose to leave early. According to him published ReliefHernández was a partner in a loss-making events company that Rubiales tried to hire when he was president of the Soccer Players Union (AFE).

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