Very affected by the shock wave of the Rubiales case, Spain landed shortly before midnight on Wednesday in ancient Tbilisi, where today (6:00 p.m., La1) they face the Georgia of the sparkling local idol Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. A setback against the brave Georgians would only increase the agitation of the hornet’s nest that the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has become, divided between the staunch followers of the rubilism and those who repudiate it. In addition, it would complicate the direct classification, reserved for the first two groups, for the 2024 Euro Cup to be held next summer in Germany.
The institutional tsunami that is being experienced has also ended up affecting the national team, as evidenced by the tense process of preparing the statement against Luis Rubiales and supporting the world champions read by captain Alvaro Morata last Monday.
It was midnight in Tbilisi when the expedition bus parked at the secondary entrance of the luxurious Marriot hotel. With dark official sportswear and a bag that protected a suit from wrinkles and stains, the silver hair of the interim federative president, Pedro Rocha, stood out in the gloom of the street. The Extremaduran leader, handpicked by Luis Rubiales, was one of the first to get off the bus. Behind him there was a trickle of haggard players from the exhausting six-hour flight. Only Morata stopped to sign autographs for the dozen Georgian fans who were waiting for them, oblivious to the cutting tension that surrounds the team in Tbilisi.
Under the watchful eye of the Government, which demands that it put an end to the rubilismRocha is immersed in designing a transition of palace intrigues that will lead to a consensus candidate that will allow him and the rest of the territorial barons to maintain their status quo in football. The one chosen at the moment is the president of the Valencian territorial division, Salvador Gomar, a man with a low profile and willing to put an end to the federation’s warmongering against most of the Spanish sports institutions.
In the corridors and at the tables of the glass cloister of the majestic hotel, some internationals yesterday detected the tense atmosphere that presides over the conversations of leaders and employees. The abrupt interruptions of gossip when one side perceives the proximity of a potential enemy, as well as the tense silences in the elevators reveal the harsh climate that exists. Nobody trusts anybody. The expedition cliques were also visible during the training session at the Boris Paichadze stadium. There, De la Fuente could only lead a stretching session because the trunk with the boots and gloves was left stranded in Barajas. Nothing is normal these days neither in the federation nor in the national team. The material was expected in the early morning.
Given the importance of the match, De la Fuente and the footballers try to escape as best they can from the internal conflict that is taking place. In the press room, the communications director. Pablo Garcia Cuervo announced that both the coach and Rodri, one of the captains, would only answer sports questions. “It is an unpleasant situation that we all find ourselves in, including the coach, and it has not been easy for him. He has given us all the strength to focus on the sporting part, which is the classification and talking about football, which is what we all want,” said the Manchester City midfielder.
easy chair or image
Basically, what is being decided is whether the main thing is to defend Rubiales’ easy chair at the cost of sacrificing the reputational image of the federation for it. This has already happened with the statements issued by the federation against Jennifer Hermoso or with the letter to UEFA sent by the general secretary, Andreu Camps, and which endangered the participation of all Spanish football in international tournaments.
The coach himself is involved in that battle between those who carry out their work under the federation’s shield and those who do so with the aim of serving the president suspended by FIFA. This has caused the relationship between De la Fuente and the sports director, Albert Luque, to cool in recent days.
The former Mallorca and Deportivo player is a trusted man of Luis Rubiales. He was chosen by the Granada leader to replace Jose Francisco Molina after the World Cup in Qatar. The statement that the coach read last Friday before offering the squad list, and in which he clearly separated himself from Rubiales, has marked distances between the two.
The players have also watched Luque with suspicion since Morata read the letter on Monday. They did not allow him to intervene. They would not have consented either if he had tried to stop him because they referred harshly to Rubiales. This was the most complicated point of the four and, given the doubts of some, Morata said that he had no problem reading it along with the rest of the entire statement.
Under this climate of high tension, the objective of Luis de la Fuente and the Spanish internationals is to straighten out the qualification for the European Championship in the Georgian capital. The unexpected defeat in Scotland (2-0), which overshadowed, four days later, De la Fuente’s worthy debut against a weakened Norway (3-1) without the presence of Erling Haaland, has placed La Roja in a penultimate position group that squeaks when observing the classification. Like everything in the hornet’s nest that La Roja lives in Tbilisi.
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Source: EL PAIS