Spanish Women’s World Cup star Jennifer Hermoso revealed on Monday that she has “received threats” in the aftermath of the unwanted kiss she received from former Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales.
In an exclusive interview with GQ Spain magazine, by whom she was named “Woman of the Year,” Hermoso said: “There was so much of a stir and, in particular, there was a lot of damage done to me personally.
“I’ve had to bear the consequences of an act that I didn’t provoke, which I didn’t choose or premeditate. I’ve received threats and that’s something which you will never get used to.”
Rubiales gave an unwanted kiss to Hermoso during the medal ceremony after Spain’s Women’s World Cup triumph in August.
He later resigned from his role as president of the country’s federation and last month was banned from “all football-related activities” by global governing body FIFA for three years. After the decision was announced, Rubiales said that he intends to appeal the ban.
In her GQ interview, Hermoso didn’t go into detail as to what those threats had been, but added that: “These weeks have been very hard. The fact I had to talk about it again and again was causing me a lot of harm.
“But I know that I had to release it in some way. I’m still working on it with the help of my psychologist, who I’ve been with for many years.
“For me, mental health is as important as the daily training, as much as the hours I have to sleep to be able to go out onto the pitch. Thanks to her, I feel strong and I’m not knocked down or thinking that I don’t want to play football anymore. I haven’t lost that thrill.”
The 33-year-old Hermoso has received an outpouring of global support since the incident, which overshadowed La Roja’s victory, though she did acknowledge that she’s had issues thinking about soccer since then.
She returned to the Spanish women’s team late last month and scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory against Italy.
“These months, with everything that’s happened, my mind has wandered a bit from football. There were moments where I didn’t remember I was a footballer,” said Hermoso.
“But I go back to a training, to a pitch, to put on my uniform, and I want to give my best self again. In my career, the Olympic Games, my team in Mexico, the national team. I will keep enjoying this sport.”
When asked how she would like to be remembered, Hermoso said: “As a person who wanted to leave Spain at the top, but above all, as someone who tried to change many ways of thought. Luckily or not, there’s this story, but I will learn to experience it positively to fight for what I think is good in society.”
Rubiales is currently under investigation by Spain’s National Court for “the crimes of sexual assault and coercion,” in a case brought by Spanish prosecutors.
He appeared in court in September after which the Spanish Prosecutor’s office said Rubiales had answered questions from the judge and all parties involved and denied the charges.