Spain are in the Women’s World Cup final amid an ongoing squad mutiny against manager Jorge Vilda.
Despite the success in Australia Vilda’s tenure has been marred by controversy and he is an unpopular figure in the Spain dressing room, The Sun reports.
That was clear for all to see after Spain beat Sweden on Tuesday to reach the final, as Vilda was left by himself as the players celebrated together.
Footage of the incident quickly whipped around social media, leaving World Cup fans stunned at what they were watching unfold.
The issues of his management date back several years, as up until 2019 Spanish players were reportedly banned from locking their hotel room doors before midnight.
That was so Vilda could carry out checks of the rooms, while players were also forced to show the contents of their bags if they brought something in to training.
Some members of the squad have accused the manager of treating them like children, with problems on the pitch also arising during Spain’s defeat to England at the Euros last year.
Players felt they were unprepared for the match and spoke privately with Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales about the possibility of removing Vilda.
When he refused senior players released a statement saying: “There is general discomfort in the group.
“We have a group that can achieve big things. After what we went through at the Euros and the months after it, we wanted to share with the FA our thoughts as a group.
“We are an ambitious group and believe there are certain internal mechanisms that should be replaced. It’s about being brave.
“Sometimes you need to say things which sound unpleasant to make things change.”
The following September 15 players stepped up to make a change by stating they would be unavailable for selection while Vilda remained in charge.
Barcelona trio Mapi Leon, Patri Guijarro and Claudia Pina all refused to play at the World Cup as players called for greater care and professionalism.
“We want firm support for a professional project for women’s football,” the statement read.
“A project that takes care of every aspect to help us get the best performance possible from a group of players we consider can achieve better and great honours.
“By any means, we have not quit the national team, as the Spanish FA say. Our commitment to the national team remains the same.”
Issues between the players and management have reared their ugly head on occasion at the World Cup too.
Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who was one of the 15 to go on strike, reacted angrily to Vilda substituting her against Sweden.
She ignored the boss before slapping the hand of another coach, while offering a cold shoulder to a third member of the coaching team.
Yet Spain have still been able to produce results on the pitch and they have a chance to win the World Cup for the first time ever when they take on the Lionesses on Sunday.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.