EletiofeSpain striker says he won't play for national team...

Spain striker says he won’t play for national team after federation president Luis Rubiales refused to resign

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Tyler Greenawalt

Borja Iglesias was called up to the Spanish national soccer team in 2022. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Borja Iglesias was called up to the Spanish national soccer team in 2022. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

One member of the Spanish men’s national team said he won’t play for his country unless federation president Luis Rubiales is reprimanded for his actions at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias, who was called up to the national team in 2022 but did not play in the World Cup in Qatar, wrote in a lengthy social media post that wearing his country’s jersey “is one of the greatest things that has happened to me in my career,” but he said he will “not to return to the National Team until things change and this type of act does not go unpunished.”

“I am sad and disappointed,” Iglesias wrote in Spanish. “As a footballer and as a person I don’t feel represented by what happened today in the Ciudad del Fútbol de Las Rozas. I find it unfortunate that they continue to press and focus on a colleague.

“Wearing the Spanish National Team shirt is one of the greatest things that has happened to me in my career. I don’t know if at some point I will be an option again, but I have made the decision not to return to the National Team until things change and this type of act does not go unpunished.

“For a fairer, more humane and decent football,” he added.

Iglesias’ statement came hours after Rubiales refused to resign despite a FIFA investigation into his actions. The soccer world governing body opened up a disciplinary investigation into Rubiales after he forcibly kissed Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the 2023 World Cup over England. He was also seen holding his crotch in a postgame celebration.

Rubiales apologized the day after the incident, but not before reports surfaced he initially called detractors “idiots” for believing what he did was malicious. During a speech Friday in which he refused to resign, Rubiales claimed he was a victim and that his actions were consensual.

“I have already apologized for an unfortunate gesture,” Rubiales said Friday. “I have already said about the kiss that it is mutual and consented and for which I have to apologize for the context. Was it serious enough for me to go? I will not resign.”

FIFA, though, stated that Rubiales may be in violation of two of their rules of conduct around “offensive behavior.” The Spanish players association also called for the federation to enforce its policies against sexual violence on Rubiales. Spain’s second deputy prime minister, Yolada Díaz, also called for enforcement of these rules as well as Rubiales’ resignation, while Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister of Spain, said Rubiales’ apology was not enough.

Other Spanish soccer stars denounce Rubiales

Héctor Bellerín, who used to played for the national team for four years and is a teammate of Iglesias on Real Betis, also posted on social media in defense of Hermoso and victims of sexual assault.

“It’s a real shame what’s happening,” he wrote on Instagram. “From presenting our country with such vulgarity, to distort statements of the victim and above having the courage to blame her to victimize herself for having committed an abuse, these are facts of which no one can go unpunished.

“The narcissist never believes they have made a mistake,” he added, “they are able to lie, manipulate the truth & make the victim guilty in order to retain their power over others.”

Former Manchester United and Spanish national team goalkeeper David de Gea posted a cryptic message after Rubiales’ announcement that, translated from Spanish, reads that his “ears are bleeding.”

Alexia Putellas, the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner who is also a professional club teammate of Hermoso wrote, “This is unacceptable. It’s over,” after Rubiales refused to resign.

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