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Lionel Messi, from Argentina, left, duels for the ball against Levante player Luis Manuel Rubiales during their Spanish League soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 29, 2007.

Join us in celebrating an 18-year-old Messi making a fool out of Luis Rubiales

As if he hadn’t made a big enough fool of himself to the rest of the world, RFEF president Luis Rubiales must now deal with people learning of his playing career – more importantly, watching him get sliced to shreds.

The face of a hideously troubled federation that has allowed longstanding institutional issues to bed into the system, Rubiales made headlines when he further tarnished Spain’s already tainted 2023 Women’s World Cup victory, kissing midfielder Jennifer Hermoso on the lips while his hands were on her during the medal presentation, which she later admitted she did not like.

In the wake of his disgusting acts, the consensus was that Rubiales would resign from his role as president, taking the bullet for an organisation plagued with such inappropriate behaviour being normalised throughout.

However, following calls to resign from just about every angle – including the Spanish prime minister – Rubiales refused to resign at an emergency press conference and signalled his intentions to renew manager Jorge Vilda’s contract.

In the time since, Vilda’s coaching staff have all stepped back from their roles, the Spain women’s national team (81 players to be exact, including the 23 who won the World Cup) stated they will not play until Rubiales resigns – another protest following on from an initial attempt to force Vilda to step back – and FIFA has suspended the president from his role effective immediately for 90 days.

In short, Rubiales is a rather horrible man and leads a hideously tainted organisation.

He has shown no remorse for his actions and continues to plead innocence, to the point where his own mother threatened to lock herself in a church and go on a hunger strike. You almost have to admire the sheer audacity of it all.

Before his time as RFEF president, though, he was actually a footballer himself as we alluded to. The most interesting his playing career actually got was the very end of it.

Rubiales, a full-back, retired in the Scottish Premier League with Hamilton Academical after a steady yet underwhelming career in Spain, hanging his boots up after just three games in Scotland at the age of 32.

It’s no surprise, then, that a teenage Lionel Messi was able to make him look like a complete schmuck back when he was just breaking onto the scene in 2007 as a scrawny teenager from Rosario.

Messi’s destiny was no secret and his immortality was inevitable, but at least in his first few years as a senior professional most defenders had a size advantage. That wasn’t enough for Rubiales, though, who was run ragged at every opportunity.

Not only is it brilliant viewing, it’s hilarious and rather cathartic watching Rubiales look so feeble and helpless.

Not once, not twice, three times. Three times he was sent to the shops on skates by this little teenager that nobody could get near. No wonder he’s such an insecure weasel these days.

Playing for Levante at the time, Rubiales was one of plenty of defenders in La Liga to feel the wrath of a young and fearless Messi.

But there’s just something that bit extra satisfying watching him ragdoll the disgraced president around for fun, showing him up long before he’d show himself up to the world.

Rubiales isn’t the only problem. It has become abundantly clear that the RFEF is an organisation built on sickening values and that must change.

Rubiales is not the only one who must go – many must follow – but there is at least a small sense of satisfaction in watching Messi make a fool out of him.

By Mitch Wilks


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