Spanish women’s basketball is experiencing a moment of maximum upheaval. The hitherto coach Lucas Mondelo was fired by the Spanish Basketball Federation on the grounds that the sporting results achieved this summer –seventh in the EuroBasket and sixth in the Olympic Games– allowed to break a contract that had been renewed last year until 2024.
After the fall of Mondelo as coach, two players who were decisive in the titles and medals achieved by the team in the last decade and who were not in Tokyo, Marta Xargay and Anna Cruz, came to the fore with statements in the newspaper The country in which they criticized the way of acting of the L’Hospitalet technician. Xargay accused Mondelo of calling him fat causing bulimia, while Cruz indicated that he did “The impossible life.”
In the case of Xargay, the information from journalist Faustino Sáez made it clear that the Spanish Basketball Federation was aware of the gravity of the accusations of the former Girona international and that they stopped the publication of an article that was going to see the light before the Olympic Games to not harm the interests of the national team in the competition held in the Japanese capital.
Although this circumstance is made clear in the article, the president Jorge Garbajosa denied having knowledge of the alleged behavior that Mondelo had had with the player. The one who was world champion with Spain in 2006 has not commented on the words of Anna Cruz, neither now nor on January 11, 2021. At that time, the player he left the selection with a letter in which he left several pearls against Mondelo. “The family is not treated like that”he snapped.
A change of attitude
Both players have raised the mats against a coach who has been surprised by the statements of those who were once his protégés and that he is now going to take legal action to clear his name. Mondelo, curiously, had the two players at his command not only at the national team level, but also He signed them for Dynamo Kursk in Russia obtaining great results at the European level.
In various interviews in the past, both Xargay and Cruz showed a very different concept than the one they have exhibited currently on Mondelo, his methods and his behavior. Perhaps as a starting point we could establish that after a concentration of the women’s team in November 2020 there was a before and after.
“He is a person you can talk to. Try to empathize, understand yourself, put yourself in your situation. I’ve been with Lucas for many years, both in the national team and in other teams. We have an almost love-hate relationship, as a couple. We know each other so much… I already know what he is going to say or do at all times. When he enters the dining room, I already know if he has woken up in a good or bad mood. And he is the same. He tells me, ‘Come on Cruz, I know I don’t have to talk to you until 11 o’clock that you have a bad awakening,’ “he said about the coach Cruz in an interview in the newspaper The world in 2018.
For its part, Xargay also did not show any problems with Mondelo even after withdrawal in a statement made at the end of 2020 to the magazine Giants. “I am a person who does not let himself be known much, I am quite distant. But Lucas, for better and for worse, has gotten to know me. We have had a good relationship because he likes to win and so do I. It seems logical, but it is what has most strengthened our bond ”, said the woman from Girona. However, days after that interview, a series of events took place in L’Alqueria del Basket de Valencia –November 2020– and the ecosystem was blown up.
Charter and federative silence
From the praise and affection, he turned to a very tough farewell letter from Cruz in January 2021. There he hinted that there had been problems with the coach in the aforementioned concentration. The escort was one of those defeated in training with a ‘match’ against a team led by Mondelo. That 73-36 that Cruz fit in with other internationals who have been in the Games like Silvia Domínguez or Queralt Casas, was the last straw and that pushed the player to decide to withdraw from the national team.
It is curious that the Federation, which he does admit that “he knew the deterioration of the relationship between the coach and the players” in his statement on the Xargay case, did not investigate an alleged case of abuse of authority and psychological abuse by Mondelo towards his players in Valencia. “The Federation was never informed of any behavior of this type, but everything was limited to the scope of the usual relationships between a coach and his team”, they stated in their communication. This perception seems to have changed according to the latest results.
There are many pieces of the puzzle missing to fit this whole story. Why does the Federation he did not listen to his players and covered up an alleged illicit behavior of Mondelo? Why has Garbajosa come out to support Xargay and ignore Cruz? Why hasn’t any of the veterans who have been to the Olympic Games comment on this situation? Is it possible that the overconfidence between the parties has led to misunderstandings?
“I have been in the national team for a year and I can say that I have not experienced such a situation. Tokyo was an unforgettable experience that I dreamed of since I was a child, “said Raquel Carrera about what has happened in recent times. As the 19-year-old speaks, the Federation is silent. Silence is not the best way to clarify a not trivial situation for Spanish basketball.