How do you explain to some of the girls who were on the Madrid Río esplanade what it feels like to be World Champions? Surely not even they, the 23 who were on stage, would know how to describe it and they are not yet aware of what that star they have engraved means.
I will never know what it feels like when you become the best on the planet. I will never win a World Cup and, of course, I will never score a goal in a final. They are not going to call me up with the national team nor will I feel on my shoulders how much a gold medal weighs. But they have made me believe that the star that belongs to them by right is also a bit of ours. That is why we must also rise to the occasion and pay it back not only with good words and protest tweets, but also with deeds.
How do you explain to anyone who has landed on planet Earth in recent days that what happened in Madrid Río was not just football? How to explain to these 23 players that Spain and the world are now looking at them after ignoring them for years?
The thousands of people who accompanied the rúa de las championas since they landed in Madrid and celebrated with them on stage are part of the change. The reception, the giant screens installed throughout the country on the day of the final, the people celebrating the victory on the beach or meeting with the family to see the women’s team, staged the transformation.
Something has changed in the last month. Or not? The film must not have changed so much when, after a historical event like this, we have to talk about non-sports topics. Nothing is going to tarnish what these players have achieved, no matter how hard some try. Nothing is going to eclipse their moment, they will not be able to. But that doesn’t mean ignoring the facts.
By now everyone has seen the kiss that Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation, gave Jenni Hermoso in the most important sporting moment of her life. By now everyone has formed an opinion on whether or not it was appropriate. Justifications have not been lacking, some of them have given me real embarrassment. Now that the world looks at these soccer players, some see what they are interested in seeing. And I’m not just referring to the kiss scene, but also to the moment in which the president of the Federation grabs his testicles next to Queen Letizia and Infanta Sofía. It has no justification. And we’re not that stupid. It’s not just football. It wasn’t just a kiss. This is the World Cup of change, and not only for Spanish football, but this championship has been a turning point for women’s sports in our country.
I don’t know if things will have changed a lot, a little or not at all, we will only know that with time. But I am clear that many things must change. I am also clear that they will improve with deeds and not with words. No, the kiss that Rubiales planted Jenni holding her face was not a consented gesture nor was it a natural reaction. You cannot accept something that is not natural and that is not the result of a moment of effusiveness. Yes, whats up. And yes, it matters. No, what came next was not an apology either and yes, it was a mandatory speech. There are things that continue as always. How we have changed, right?
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