Olga Carmona, the Spanish soccer star who scored the winning goal in the Women’s World Cup final, said it made her “angry” that Luis Rubiales’ unwanted kiss on teammate Jennifer Hermoso overshadowed the team’s historic victory.
Following weeks of fierce criticism, Rubiales resigned from his position as president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) on Sunday, saying that he “won’t contribute anything positive [to RFEF or Spanish soccer]” were he to remain in the role.
Speaking to Spanish late-night talk show El Hormiguero on Monday, Carmona said that she felt “most angry” about the fact that Rubiales had kissed her teammate Hermoso on “a day that was not appropriate.”
The 46-year-old previously apologized and described the kiss as “mutual,” though Hermoso denied that claim, saying she did not consent and was not respected.
“It is obviously sad that we achieved something historic, something that really takes a lot of work to achieve and that it was overshadowed because of what we all know happened,” Carmona said.
“Yes, it does make me angry and I think that hopefully from now they’ll talk about how we are world champions.”
When asked if she had spoken with Hermoso, Carmona confirmed she had not.
“We do have a close relationship, but I understand what she’s going through, so I haven’t talked to her,” the Real Madrid star added. “I understand that it’s a difficult situation. No one likes getting attention for having something like that happen.”
Carmona was one of more than 80 Spanish soccer players to sign a letter supporting Hermoso, which said that the players would not return to the national team “if the current leaders continue” in their posts.
Carmona said that she was still undecided if she would return now that Rubiales has resigned and head coach Jorge Vilda has been sacked – being replaced with Montse Tomé, the first woman to ever hold the role – as part of the shake-up in Spanish soccer.
“Well, there’s been more than Rubiales’ resignation, there’s also been other changes, we have a new coach,” Carmona said. “First of all, we have to wait for the call list and see if I’m on it or not and see what happens from there.
“Rubiales’ resignation is still very recent, it only happened last night, and so we have to discuss as a group and see what happens.”
On Monday, European soccer governing body UEFA released a statement acknowledging Rubiales’ resignation and the “the public discourse” surrounding him and his recent actions. It also thanked Rubiales for his many years of service to European football.
UEFA’s statement was released hours after the governing body hosted a group of women, including two-time Ballon d’Or Féminin winner Alexia Putellas, in a conference designed to create “an institutional yet independent voice of experience and expertise” on subjects including player welfare.
The board for women’s soccer was meeting for the first time since being created earlier this year.
Rubiales could still face charges for his actions at the Women’s World Cup final, and on Monday, Spain’s National Court admitted the complaint made against him by Spanish prosecutors for “the crimes of sexual assault and coercion.”
The admittance of the prosecutor’s complaint – part of the Spanish legal process – allows the court to begin gathering evidence, which it said involves requesting videos of the incident from news outlets.