The tension in the federation is breathed in the locker room | Sports

Louis of the Source
Luis de la Fuente, during the training of Spain.Javier Lizon (EFE)

Nothing seemed to have changed in Las Rozas. At least, facing the gallery. At the home of the Spanish team, all the routines prior to a duel for La Roja were respected normally. This had been decided by the communication department. “One of our great virtues has been dealing with the media,” they say from the federation. For this reason, the idea was not to change anything despite the difficulty of the context, a complicated management of information, especially for footballers who are used to haggling over conflict situations. “It was to be tense, the bundle that there is is not even half normal,” acknowledged one of those selected by Luis de la Fuente.

“Some strange events have occurred and we have a difficult situation. Still, we have a responsibility. Returning to the national team is a source of pride”, César Azpilicueta, one of the captains of Spain, started without fear to face the media. “It will be because I have been doing this for years,” he justified his presence. The mission of the Atlético player was not easy. After the statement issued by the locker room, for some lukewarm – “I have plenty of that they have said that they only want to focus on sports,” complained Vero Boquete in El larguero -, for others, on the other hand, enough. “Opinions are respectable. Agreeing on the statement among all was complicated. We did what we considered we should do,” Azpilicueta said.

However, what had to be done, according to Azpilicueta, generated some tension in the locker room. Those who pleaded for a more aggressive statement mistrusted the federal employees in charge who did not see the statement well, suspected of being informants of the suspended president. The Atlético defender made his position clear. “I have not spoken with Rubiales or with the players of the women’s team,” he clarified. Azpilicueta, however, avoided controversial phrases, especially bombastic headlines. He wasn’t the only one. All the players who attended the press followed Azpilicueta’s line. “Nobody told them what they had to say,” they stress from the federation.

As in the statement last Monday – in which the footballers had received pressure from federation employees to control the result – in the appearance of the Atlético player, the name of Jennifer Hermoso did not appear either. Azpilicueta, in any case, defended the players who have decided not to return to the national team while the same managers continue. “It is your decision. We respect her. We have a responsibility. We have to help and we are with them”, stressed Azpilicueta, in defense, precisely, of another of the points that had generated friction between the soccer players of the men’s team at the time of writing the statement. “It was not easy and it took us a while,” he closed. And he justified the delay in the reaction of the men’s team: “We cannot issue a statement without knowing if we are in the call.”

From the offices to the locker room, the tension spreads through the Las Rozas headquarters. But while the players look at each other suspiciously, they are inspected in the corridors. Everyone attentive to everyone’s movements. “Here the people of Rubiales see who is talking to whom,” observes a source from the federation. Waiting for a definitive winner (or loser), in Las Rozas the trenches grow. All under an apparent normality. Nothing strange, the same thing had already happened in Australia and New Zealand.

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