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Vilda drops Spain ‘rebels’ in depleted women’s squad

Spain women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda named a hugely depleted squad for October’s international friendlies on Friday, excluding several star names who asked not to be considered due to a bitter dispute with the Spanish football federation (RFEF).

Barcelona players Patri Guijarro, Mapi Leon, Sandra Panos and Aitana Bonmati, among others, were not included, along with injured Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who has made it clear she supports their stance.

Manchester United’s Ona Batlle and Lucia Garcia and Manchester City’s Leila Ouahabi and Laia Aleixandri were not named on the list either.

Nor were striker Jenni Hermoso and defender Irene Paredes, who did not initially send letters to the RFEF but have also shown support for the rebelling players. 

Several Real Madrid players, none of whom were involved in the protest, were named in Vilda’s squad.

Earlier in September, fifteen players sent emails to the RFEF saying they did not wish to be selected due to issues with the national team which affected their “emotional and personal state”.

The RFEF said the players would not be picked for Spain games until they apologised, to which the players responded publicly, posting the same statement across their social networks.

It criticised the RFEF for releasing extracts from their private email and denied asking for Vilda to be sacked, as was insinuated.

The friendlies against Sweden on October 7 and the United States on October 11 are part of preparations for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which starts in July.

Spain, who were eliminated by England in the quarter-finals of Euro 2022, would be considered among the favourites for the tournament if at full strength.

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