Spain are one of the favorites to win the 2023 Women’s World Cup. In the odds before the tournament, they were just behind powerhouses like the United States, England and Germany.

Last year at the UEFA Euro, Spain almost knocked out the eventual champion, England, after a thrilling match in the quarterfinals which went all the way to overtime. They did it without their main star: Alexia Putellas.

Now, Spain will share Group C with Costa Rica, Japan and Zambia. However, one of their historic players, Mapi Leon won’t be at the Women’s World Cup for very important reasons.

Why is Mapi Leon not playing at the 2023 Women’s World Cup for Spain?

After the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, a group of 15 players from the Spanish national team requested an immediate change of coach. Even after being accused of bad treatment and old training methods, Jorge Vilda remained at his position.

As a consequence, just a few days later, all those players from the national team refused to come back. Nevertheless, because of the importance of the World Cup, some of them finally agreed to return in a last-minute decision.

However, Mapi Leon didn’t change her mind. She confirmed it on May. “There are a lot of things to change. Since we made the announcement (after the Euro) until today, I have the feeling not much has changed. You have to value what you’re gonna miss.”

Mapi admitted it was one of the toughest decisions in her life. “It’s a World Cup in which I’ve been in the qualifiers. I qualified for the World Cup. I really earned it. However, it’s a decision I have to make and my decision is clear. I have a way of living and values. I cannot come back. There has to be a change.”