Xavi condemns Spanish FA & offers 'unconditional support' to Jenni Hermoso

  • Barcelona's head coach opened his press conference with stinging criticism of RFEF
  • Hermoso threatened with legal action as Luis Rubiales scandal escalates
  • Xavi slams behaviour of Spanish football federation & offers Hermoso full support
Xavi Hernandez pledged his support to Jenni Hermoso
Xavi Hernandez pledged his support to Jenni Hermoso / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

"I want to give my unconditional support to Jennifer Hermoso and the players," were the words used by Xavi at the beginning of his Barcelona press conference on Saturday.

The Catalan giants are preparing to face Villarreal in their third La Liga outing of the season, but the game, and Spanish football, has been overshadowed in recent days by the scandal engulfing Spanish football association (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales.

Rubiales planted an unsolicited kiss on the lips of Spain forward Hermoso during the medal ceremony that followed the country's Women's World Cup win, in an act the 33-year-old has subsequently stated was "unacceptable" and "not consensual".

FIFA have suspended Rubiales for 90 days pending a disciplinary investigation, but he sensationally refused to resign on Friday at an extraordinary general meeting that the media had been briefed was to confirm his exit.

Instead, Rubiales declared on five separate occasions "I will not resign", with the Spanish federation then threatening Hermoso, who played for Barcelona Femini between 2019 and 2022, with legal action.

Hermoso has received an abundance of support from colleagues in both the women's and men's game, and Xavi has now backed her by criticising the actions of the Spanish federation.

"I condemn the behaviour of the president of the Spanish Football Federation," Xavi said. "And I regret that people aren't talking about the historic achievement of winning the World Cup."

Abde part of Barcelona plans despite transfer interest

Ez Abde
Ez Abde is attracting interest from Aston Villa and Bayer Leverkusen / Quality Sport Images/Contributor

Xavi also addressed the future of young winger Ez Abde, who 90min revealed on Thursday is attracting interest from Aston Villa and Bayer Leverkusen.

The 21-year-old spent last season on loan at Osasuna, helping the club reach the Copa del Rey final in addition to achieving a surprised seventh-place finish in La Liga.

Competition for places is fierce at Barcelona, particularly in forward areas, but Xavi reiterated his desire for Abde to stay at the club as he's part of his plans for the future.

"As for Abde, he may not be starting games but it shouldn't matter whether he starts or comes on as a substitute," he said. "In fact, we won the last game because the five players who came on from the bench made such an impact. Abde can stir things up late in the game and I'm very happy with the way he does that. I like him a lot as a person and as a professional. He is part of my plans."

Xavi also remarked that Pedri's latest hamstring injury was "especially unfortunate" as the young Spaniard had worked hard in pre-season training to build up the muscle in that area.

The latest setback is the fifth time the 20-year-old has been ruled out with such a hamstring issue, with a spell out of the team between September 2021 and January 2022 causing him to miss 23 games.