Moment Spanish FA president kisses Spain's Jenni Hermoso on the lips after …
Spain’s World Cup-winning women’s football team should be enjoying their time in the limelight right now but, instead, the name on many people’s lips is Luis Rubiales.
Rubiales, 45, the Spanish Federation (RFEF) president, was up at the podium congratulating members of the squad following their 1-0 victory over England, when he grabbed midfielder Jenni Hermoso and planted an elated kiss on her lips.
The moment was instantly condemned by viewers and social media users, and Hermoso, 33, was later asked how she felt about his behaviour.
And yet, Rubiales has been unrepentant over his actions, dismissing the criticism as “idiotic” and even making a joke about marrying the sportswoman.
Quizzed on the incident by Radio Marca, Rubiales replied: “The kiss with Jenni? There are idiots everywhere.”
He explained: “When two people have a moment of inconsequential affection, we can’t listen to nonsense. We’re champions and that’s all I care about.”
Separately, in a recording shared by left-winger Salma Paralluelo, Rubiales appeared in the women’s changing room and announced to the players that the RFEF would treat them all to a trip to Ibiza.
He then joked that during their island getaway, they would all “celebrate the wedding of Jenni and Luis Rubiales” (referring to himself in the third person).
His announcement was met with cheers from the squad, who seemed to make light of the whole situation. But, let’s be honest, this could have something to do with the high that comes from becoming your country’s first-ever women’s World Cup winners.
And yet, Hermoso later seemed to backtrack on her initial assessment of the moment, justifying it as a “natural gesture of affection”.
“It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings,” said Hermoso, in comments given to AFP by the Spanish federation.
“The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”
Moreover, Hermoso wasn’t the only player to endure a very public sign of “affection” from the federation president.
Rubiales was also caught on camera giving the team’s captain – and tournament-winning goalscorer – Olga Carmona a big smack on the cheek.
Carmona learned shortly after the match that her father had passed away.
Clearly, it was a bitter-sweet evening, even for the champions.