HomeWorldLiga F not changed after World Cup win - Bonmati

Liga F not changed after World Cup win – Bonmati


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Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati says things “have not changed” for female players in Spain despite winning the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

As well as issues with the national team, Bonmati says the domestic league still has “a lot of problems”.

“There is not anything that has changed,” she told BBC Sport.

“I would like to say that everything has changed and the World Cup gave us more things – but I cannot say that. I compare [it to] when England won the Euros – everything changed.

“But we won the World Cup which I think is bigger than winning the Euros and no, it never changed, especially in the league. We are having the same problems as always. We have a lot of problems.”

Speaking in an exclusive interview before Barcelona’s Women’s Champions League semi-final against Chelsea on Saturday, the midfielder discussed the differences between Spain’s Liga F and England’s Women’s Super League (WSL).

It comes after several high-profile incidents within the Spanish national team, which led to players boycotting the team in 2023 amid the legal case with Rubiales and prior to the sacking of former manager Jorge Vilda.

Spain’s football federation (RFEF) has still not appointed a successor to Rubiales who is set to go on trial for his alleged non-consensual kiss after the final and is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion.

Following the latest player boycott in September, the RFEF – in a sign that it accepted there were issues – committed to “immediate and profound changes” which included “improving the infrastructure of women’s sport”.

A number of Spanish players have moved to the WSL in recent years, including Manchester City duo Laia Aleixandri and Leila Ouahabi, Manchester United’s Lucia Garcia and Irene Guerrero, as well as Arsenal’s Laia Codina.

Bonmati says the WSL is “doing things so well” and that makes it an “attractive league” for Spanish players.

“First of all I think the people are thinking of playing in England because you in England are doing things so well. You treat women’s football good. You give power to the players and to the league,” she added.

“For example, here in Spain, I cannot say the same. I see also that the league in England is competitive and every year they are putting more money into it to develop it. They are making the league more attractive.

“Arsenal and Manchester City are good teams that can play with the ball and these kinds of teams are searching for players who can play this kind of football. Who [better] to do that than Spanish players?

“On one hand you have the players who want to go to this league because you are treating the football so good, you make the league competitive and you want to play in this league. On the other hand, the clubs also want Spanish footballers that are smart, they can read the game well, have the ball and also we are developing over the last few years our [physicality].”

Bonmati had the most decorated season of any female or male player in history in 2022-23 when she won every tournament and individual accolade with Barcelona and Spain.

Her club won the Treble with the Liga F, Spanish Cup and Champions League title prior to Spain’s success at the World Cup, while Bonmati was named Ballon d’Or winner and Uefa Women’s Player of the Year.

However, she says players are not responsible for making changes to improve women’s football in Spain, despite their best efforts to be successful.

“You see the best leagues – there are less teams in the league so it is more competitive. Here we have 16 teams. I think there’s a lot. It’s not attractive our league, I don’t think,” she added.

“I would love to say everything has changed but no, it’s not. The worst thing is that you don’t see any clear changes in the close future. This is sad.

“We can talk and we can say what we think, like we have a lot of times, but at least I am not the one who has to make these changes. We are a team that wants to win everything, we are professional and we have the mentality. That’s our job.

“We can talk about the league and the changes that we think are the best to develop the league or make it more attractive like England, but at the end it is not our responsibility to change it. It is not on us. If it depended on us, everything would have changed by now.”

You can read more from Bonmati on Barcelona, her incredible achievements last season and Champions League opponents Chelsea from 06:00 BST on Friday, 19 April.

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