WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
Barcelona defender Mapi León says she “isn’t going to the World Cup” and “can’t go back” to the Spain team
The Barcelona centre-back told Catalan radio that “it’s a shame, I deserve it and I contributed to getting there”.
FC Barcelona defender, Mapi León spoke to Catalan radio station RAC1 as part of their Tú Dirás programme, in which she opened up on whether or not the situation has changed regarding the impasse in the Spanish Women’s National Team.
Last year, 15 players, the majority from FC Barcelona, wrote identical emails to Luis Rubiales, head of the Spanish FA (RFEF), saying that due to their “emotional state and as such [their] health”, they were unavailable for selection to the squad.
The players all published a statement that did not highlight the exact reasons as to why they were unhappy with Vilda’s management, and as such this has caused more harm than good for everyone involved. Since this moment, Spain’s national team, which went into Euro 2022 as one of the favourites, has suffered huge damage on all sides. Nobody has emerged as the victor in this.
Irene and Jenni have returned to Spain: will the other players?
However, over the past few months, with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand looming, jigsaw pieces have started to move and there has been a sliver of light that has crept through the gaps: both Irene Paredes and Jenni Hermoso have returned to the squad which has seen massive overhaul given the amount of players who have declared themselves as not available. Spain have three difficult tournament opponents and will ply against Costa Rica, Zambia and Japan in the group stage.
With the return of Jenni and Irene, rumours have swirled that other players may also be in negotiations with the RFEF regarding a possible return to the fray. When asked whether she was likely to make a comeback, Mapi León, a firm favourite in the Barcelona fanbase, all but ruled herself out completely.
Mapi says she ‘deserves’ to be at the World Cup
“Right now I’m not going to the World Cup”, she said, “It makes me sad, as I deserve it and I contributed to getting the team there, but it’s not a decision that you take lightly and and it’s not easy. My decision is clear. Mapi León has a way of living and she has values to stick to. I can’t go back, there has to be changes. If they tell me and there is a plan, but I don’t see changes.”
Mapi León did not open up on exactly what those changes are, whether she wants the manager gone or more simple, structural changes to the setup with the National Team. This in itself is the root of the confusion from many: it is fair to ask for changes but to do so with half of the public side of the message covered is only going to create anger and suspicion.
Jorge Vilda has a ‘totally committed’ squad
Vilda, for his part, has not yet responded to the comments, but said back in April that the players that he had selected for the friendlies against Norway and China were all “totally committed” to playing for the national side. All of the 23 players are ready to play, to perform and give their all. It’s an attractive team in terms of the style and we are creating a very cohesive group with players who are totally committed.”
“If we all go in the right direction and we all try our best, playing how we want to play, which are bigger than some irrelevant things, I’m sure we will achieve all the objectives that we set ourselves”, he said.