He was never a stealthy president. Nor is it discreet, and even less so after his unacceptable kiss to Jenni Hermoso after Spain conquered the Women’s World Cup. A kiss for which he apologized in a bad way and for which he has had to resign. He came Luis Rubiales to the top of Spanish football five years ago after obtaining 80 votes, beating Juan Luis Larrea, who achieved 56, ending the internship that led to the departure of Angel Villar, who had governed with absolutist airs for almost 30 years (1988-2017) until a judicial process – the Soulé operation, a corruption case – opened the exit door for him. That is where the former president of the AFE (Association of Spanish Footballers) entered, who became the head of the FEF (Spanish Football Federation).
Since then, in May 2018, this former professional player, who moved from Guadix to Alicante passing through Mallorca, Lleida, Xerez or Levante, almost always installed in the Second Division, lived installed in noise. As soon as he arrived, and just 48 hours before the 2018 World Cup in Russia began, he dispensed with the coach Julen Lopetegui after announcing Madrid that they had signed him as a new coach.
rubiales drastically dismissed the coach and Spain appeared at the World Cup with Ferdinand Iron, who had to abandon his federation sports director suit and put on, from one day to the next, the coach’s tracksuit.
The awarding of the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia
Rubiales lives in conflict. And already, practically, from the first day he became the president of the FEF. Sports conflict (a convulsive goodbye to Lopetegui, disagreements with Luis Enrique after the World Cup in Qatar, the ‘rebellion of the 15 players’ a year before Spain sewed the second star in Sydney) and, of course, permanent institutional conflict.
His dialectical fights with Xavier Thebes, the president of LaLiga, are constant since they face two completely opposed sports management models. And, in addition, management and diplomatic conflicts as demonstrated by the awarding of the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia through Kosmos, the company that presides over Gerard Piqué.
Those leaked audios revealed the complicity between the leader who was born in the Canary Islands, but grew up in Motril (Granada), and the then Barça player. “Geri, congratulations. And I’m not referring to yesterday’s great match or your goal. It’s already past 12 and the agreement with Saudi Arabia is already firm. A hug, thanks for everything and here for whatever you need”” Rubiales said in September 2019 to Piqué after closing the pact, which included a million-dollar commission for the former Azulgrana for connecting the business with the new Arab headquarters of the Super Cup.
Victim of a “stage hunt”
Installed in the institutional conflict (it is known that he never connected with Thebes nor with David Aganzo, current president of the AFE), also capable of eliminating the variables that included his salary so that he would not be linked to a supposed personal interest in that Madrid and Barça will reach the final of the Super Cup. He lived in the noise and faced it.
“The only thing I’m afraid of is that they put cocaine in my car,” Rubiales came to confess a little over a year ago when he denounced being the victim of “a prepared hunt, falsifying reality”, a consequence of “a mafia” that he had stolen information and conversations from his private mobile phone when he defended himself against the accusations he had received about the deal with Saudi Arabia.
Re-elected until 2024
“I consider myself a brave man,” he said then in an appearance before the press that lasted almost two and a half hours. “To be in my situation in the Federation, you cannot lack courage. I knew that powerful people were going to attack me, but not that they were going to take information from my phone,” acknowledged the president of the Federation whose term expires in 2024 since He was re-elected in September 2020 as he was the only candidate to run after Iker Casillas resigned from going to the polls.
Constant controversies, audios, threats, troubles and, as he himself revealed a year ago, he has not had “not a quiet week” in that chair where Villar was for almost three decades “because I have accumulated more than 25 complaints of a continuous campaign of erosion , wear and tear and total discredit”. And even family fights because his uncle Juan, who was chief of staff, denounced him before the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor for parties with girls in charge of the Federation, something that was immediately denied by this entity.
Rubiales, who boasted of indestructible demeanor. he had always managed to survive. But his time is over.