Jenni Hermoso says she ‘received threats’ after unwanted kiss from Spanish FA president

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Jenni Hermoso received threats in the fallout from being kissed by the president of the Spanish federation at the Women’s World Cup final, she said in an interview published by Spanish GQ on Monday.

“I have had to assume the consequences of an act that I did not provoke, that I had not chosen,” she said. “I have received threats, and that is something you never get used to.”

Hermoso did not elaborate on the threats, saying only she had to go through “difficult weeks” after seeing herself in the epicenter of one of the worst crises in Spanish soccer.

She received an unwanted kiss on the lips by Luis Rubiales at the awards ceremony following Spain’s victory over England in the Women’s World Cup final in August in Sydney. It was the first women’s soccer world title for Spain.

Hermoso said the kiss was without her consent and Spanish state prosecutors later accused Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion. They alleged Rubiales — who eventually resigned — tried to convince Hermoso and her relatives to publicly downplay the kiss.

“Having to tell it over and over again was hurting me a lot,” she said. “But I know I had to let it go somehow. I keep working on it with the help of my psychologist, who I have been with for many years. For me, mental health is as important as training and as the hours that I have to sleep before getting onto the field. Thanks to her I feel strong and I’m not broken down or thinking about not wanting to play soccer anymore.”

[Related: Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmatí says it’s time to ‘focus on soccer’]

Hermoso said she wants to be “remembered as someone who put Spain at the top but, above all, who tried to change mentalities.”

“Fortunately or unfortunately, this story happened, but I am going to learn to take advantage of it positively to fight for what I believe is good for society.”

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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