Spain men’s coach Luis de la Fuente said Monday he “respects” former football federation president Luis Rubiales’ decision to resign after causing outrage by kissing a Women’s World Cup player on the lips.
Rubiales stood down from his post on Sunday, three weeks after forcibly kissing Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso after her side won the World Cup on August 20 in Sydney.
The incident provoked unprecedented uproar and Rubiales was provisionally suspended by FIFA for 90 days, while a judge at the country’s top criminal court opened an investigation into Rubiales earlier Monday.
“(I have) maximum respect for the decision of Luis Rubiales,” De la Fuente told a news conference ahead of Spain’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Cyprus in Granada.
The coach, 62, did not want to talk about the Rubiales scandal, which he too was criticised for after applauding the former federation president during a fiery defensive speech in which he pledged not to resign.
De la Fuente said he wanted to focus on football and did not know any details about the process of electing a successor to Rubiales.
“I think that the calmer we professionals are, the better,” added De la Fuente. “I don’t know about (election) times, we will keep thinking about football, football and football. If God wants it, we’ll be working at Euro 2024 and only thinking about that.”
Spain thrashed Georgia 7-1 in Tbilisi on Friday and are second in qualification Group A, behind leaders Scotland. Barcelona winger Lamine Yamal, 16, became Spain’s youngest ever player and goalscorer in the emphatic triumph.
“The veterans take care of the new players and give them all kinds of assistance,” said De la Fuente. “Now (Yamal) has to develop his full potential, and he will have his peaks and troughs. He will have his low moments and we don’t have to be so cruel, but take it as a normal part of his development — we are delighted with him.”