Spanish World Cup winner Jennifer Hermoso has given a detailed account of the kissing incident which involved the former Spanish FA president, Luis Rubiales.
It will be recalled that Rubiales was seen on television kissing Hermoso on the lips after the final of the 2022 FIFA Women’s World Cup, sparking outrage and circumstances that led to the RFEF president being suspended and charged in court for assault.
During the hearings about the case, Hermoso gave testimony against Rubiales, insisting that she never consented to the kiss and revealing efforts made by the Spanish FA to silence her.
She started her statement, revealed by Marca, by saying, “At no time was the kiss consensual. They tarnished my image; I felt, as a player and worker of the Federation, that no one was protecting me. They were asking me to protect them, to help them, but at no time did I feel that anyone was protecting me.”
When asked how she felt after the incident and why she chose to continue with celebrations instead of making a scene after the World Cup final, she said, “I was a little more nervous. At no time would I have allowed myself to start crying in a corner so that everyone could tell me ‘What’s going on?’. It was time to celebrate. I also had to protect my teammates.
“I don’t deserve to have experienced all this. It has been very difficult for me not to be able to leave the house. I have had to leave Madrid to not have that pressure I had from people who only wanted to hurt me. Why do I have to be repressed? or crying in a room when I haven’t done anything?”
Speaking specifically about the incident, Hermoso said, “We were at the final ceremony. They gave me the medal, I greeted the Queen, I hugged her daughter, and the next one was Rubiales. He jumped on me; I stood firm to support him; he told me, ‘we have won this World Cup thanks to you’, and the next thing was his hands on my head. I didn’t see anything else, and I saw myself with the kiss on the mouth.
“When I go up, the only thing I hear is that. I didn’t hear anything else, and he kissed me. I didn’t even expect it. How could I expect that on stage after being world champions? There was a lot of joy, but I didn’t look for that moment, nor did I do anything to make that event happen. I saw myself with that moment and when I went down to the stage I mentioned it to my colleagues. I immediately told Alexia Putellas and Irene Paredes.”
“We had been champions, a historical fact that cost us our lives, and at no time could I expect that to happen. Just as I hugged the Queen and her daughter, it was a trustworthy person. No one would expect him to use that moment to do something like that, no matter how spontaneous it was. I didn’t have time to react.
“There were seconds, and immediately I went down to the stage [where the World Cup is held] with my teammates. The first thing I said to Alexia and Irene was: “Hey, he kissed me.” But what do you say, they answered me. ‘Yes, yes, very strong’.”
Speaking on the immediate aftermath of the kiss, Hermoso said, “We returned to start the celebration. We had been world champions! My feeling, at that moment, was: ‘I cannot steal the spotlight of any kind from the historical event that just happened.’ To protect all my teammates, I did not believe that I deserved It’s worth it to act differently.
“It was putting them in something in which they had no fault, like me. There was champagne, beer… the whole atmosphere was a little crazy. I braved it and continued enjoying it with my teammates. I didn’t want to regret not having enjoyed that moment. I conveyed what I had felt to my teammates, but I hadn’t seen the image of the video or what was being said.”
Hermoso also revealed Rubiales’ own immediate reaction to the incident and how he entered the team’s dressing room after the kiss to give a speech.
She said, “When we see the images, it’s like: ‘Has this been real?’ I was in a state of shock. I was in the locker room and suddenly Ana Alvarez came in. She told me that the president was calling me, that he needed me to come out. And he began: ‘Jenni, the kiss, there’s a lot of talk…’ I told him ‘You don’t have to tell me anything, you’re going to fall for what’s happened’.”
“He told me: ‘I need to say something in the locker room. Can you tell me if I can come in?’ It happened and he was aware of everything that was going on. When we entered, he diverted the subject a little.
“He told us that we had a paid trip to Ibiza for having won. I was already a little nervous. He held me all the time, he had me by the shoulder and he started to say that we had paid for the trip to Ibiza. People started shouting and continuing celebrating,” she concluded.
Rubiales has since resigned from his role as RFEF president and has also been handed a restriction order from reaching out to Hermoso or coming within 200 yards of the former Barcelona midfielder.