Luis Rubiales: Five years with more bad than good

Luis Rubiales: Five years with more bad than good

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This Friday, with his resignation, Luis Manuel Rubiales Béjar, will leave the post of president of the Royal Federation (RFEF) this Friday after starting on May 17, 2018, coming from the Spanish Footballers Association (AFE). Five years in which Rubiales has had more problems than joy...

It is not an agreed or calm farewell, it is a traumatic and controversial farewell, the result of a series of inadequate and inappropriate attitudes of the highest representative of Spanish football: obscene gestures in the box where the final of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand was played, the kiss to Jenni Hermoso, some defiant statements...

On a sporting front, Rubiales' tenure has ended with two important and prestigious triumphs in 2023: the UEFA Nations League (Spain beat Croatia on penalties in the final in Enschede) and the Women's World Cup (Spain beat England 1-0 in the final in Sydney).

If the sporting joys have been delayed almost until the end of his tenure, the gloom has been quick to appear. The first was the sacking of Julen Lopetegui a few hours before Spain's debut at the Russia 2018 World Cup after it emerged that he would join Real Madrid once the tournament was over.

The replacement of Fernando Hierro by Julen Lopetegui did not bode well and, in the end, Spain said goodbye to the World Cup in Russia after a drab group stage (3-3 against Portugal, 1-0 against Iran and 2-2 against Morocco) and losing in the round of 16 against the hosts on penalties.

That same year, sources claimed that he had travelled to New York and paid for his trip with money from the Federation's coffers. According to El Confidencial, "he simulated meetings with the United Nations and Major League Soccer (MLS) to spend six days in the USA, where he was accompanied by a Mexican painter".

The president of the RFEF also suffered significant wear and tear for arranging the 2019 Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia after making a deal with Gerard Piqué. According to El Confidencial, "audios, conversations and documents reveal that Rubiales and the Barça defender allied to charge a multimillion-dollar commission for holding the Super Cup on Saudi soil".

In 2022, a 2020 scandal was uncovered: Rubiales and his inner circle, according to El Confidencial, "used corporate bank cards of the body to pay expenses related to a controversial holiday in a villa in Salobreña (Granada) in August 2020". A party, allegedly, with "a group of eight to 10 young girls".

In 2020 he had to deal with Iker Casillas, who announced his candidacy for the RFEF and his intention to stand in the early elections called by Rubiales. The former Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper, World Cup winner in South Africa in 2010, was clear that "we are going to bring our Federation up to the level of the best football in the world: that of Spain". Casillas, however, took a step back and left the field clear for Rubiales.

Rubiales, igualmente, ha mantenido estos años un intenso cara a cara con el presidente de LaLiga, Javier Tebas, una enemistad que viene de lejos. Ambos se posicionaron para hacerse con el control del fútbol español, hecho que los llevó a duros enfrentamientos verbales, con episodios que han terminado en manos de la justicia.

Rubiales, likewise, has maintained an intense face-to-face confrontation with the president of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, an enmity that goes back a long way. The two men were in a position to take control of Spanish football, a fact that led to harsh verbal clashes, with episodes that have ended up in the hands of the courts.

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