Striking Spain players arrive at training camp as dispute continues
BARCELONA: Spanish internationals selected by new coach Montse Tome gathered on Tuesday (Sep 19) at the women's national team training camp, despite declaring themselves unavailable, with doubts about their willingness to play in upcoming Nations League games persisting.
Two-time Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas and other Barcelona-based players flew to Valencia and arrived at the camp in the evening to join the rest of the squad, with all players now present except Esther Gonzalez - US reports say the forward has a thigh injury and will not travel from the United States where she plays.
There are still 39 players striking over changes they want made in the Spanish football federation (RFEF) after the kiss scandal which forced disgraced president Luis Rubiales to resign, including 20 of Tome's 23-woman squad.
Barcelona defender Mapi Leon expressed concerns over being forced to attend, with any player who rejects the call up at risk of sanctions under Spain's sports law.
"We have to talk long and hard about if we are coming to a safe place or not when we have been forced to come," she told reporters in Valencia airport, before heading to the camp in Oliva.
"We have been forced to come. But if they want to sanction us, then we have to come."
Asked by a reporter if she was happy to be included in the squad, goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez replied "no" on her arrival to the hotel.
Putellas was asked in Barcelona airport how she felt and the Barcelona playmaker replied: "Well, bad."
The striking players issued a statement Monday in which they reiterated their wish not to be called up, but acknowledged legal consequences may force them to attend.
Former president Rubiales forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won