Spain star won’t return for Women’s World Cup as row continues over head coach

Spain name their 2023 Women’s World Cup squad on 12 June

Karl Matchett
Monday 05 June 2023 14:23 BST
(Getty Images)

Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro - player of the match in the Women’s Champions League final at the weekend - insists she will not return to the Spain women’s team as things stand, just days out from the World Cup squad being named.

Patri was a central part of the Spain squad which featured at Euro 2022, where they reached the quarter-finals and lost to eventual winners England - but soon after the tournament, 15 players including then-injured club teammate Alexia Putellas, banded together to inform the Spanish Football Federation (Rfef) they would not be continuing for the national team. The group said at the time they were affected in terms of both “health” and “emotional state” by the methods of head coach Jorge Vilda and insisted they would not play again while he remained at the helm.

In response, the Rfef went public with what they termed the players’ resignations and insisted it was neither their job nor their “competences” to dictate who the manager of the team was, demanding the 15 “assume their mistake and ask for forgiveness”.

Spain’s players rejected the suggestion they had demanded Vilda be removed from his job or resigned, and said they had asked to not be called up for international duty until situations were solved “that affect our emotional and personal state, our performance and, consequently, the results of the team and that could derive in undesirable injuries”.

Following Barcelona’s dramatic win over Wolfsburg to lift another Champions League title, Patri was asked about a potential return to the national team for the World Cup - but insisted that her exile would remain the same until Spain’s governing body changed their approach.

“As things stand today, I won’t play at the World Cup,” she said on RAC1. “Not as things stand, but it’s true I’ve got an emotional hangover today - we’ve just won the Champions League. We’ll see. I think every player wants to play for their country, I don’t know what to tell you. Not as things stand today.”

Between them, Patri, Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmati were the three midfield pillars for Spain, tallying 198 caps between them, but none have played for the national team since the end of the Euros. All three remain with Barcelona, who have reached three consecutive Women’s Champions League finals.

Spanish outlet AS claim that some of the group of 15 are ready to walk back on their refusal to play for the team, ahead of Vilda - who remains in charge - naming his squad for the finals on 12 June.

La Roja play Costa Rica, Zambia and Japan at the finals in Australia and New Zealand this summer.

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