Argentina’s Delfina Merino has spoken out over being left in the dark following her omission from Las Leonas’ squad ahead of the World Cup this summer.
Forward Merino, 32, wrote a damning social media post on Thursday as she described her “anger and sadness” at being left out of Fernando Ferrara’s squad.
Merino, who has won over 300 caps since 2009, struggled last year following a positive Covid test in February 2021 but fought back to travel with Argentina as they won Olympic silver in Tokyo under outgoing coach Carlos Retegui.
“Delfi is a spectacular player, but for me today she is not going through her best moment and I think there are other players who, in her position, are performing better,” Ferrara had told ESPN last week.
She had missed the Pan American Cup, a World Cup qualifier and Pro League matches as she recovered from health issues at the start of the year, Argentinian media had reported, before returning to the side last month against the USA. With the writing on the wall following Ferrara’s comments, Merino took to social media to express her disappointment, with still two months left before the World Cup in the Netherlands and Spain.
Delfina Merino’s full statement (translated)
Since I was a girl I dreamed of playing in Las Leonas, and I thank life for being able to fulfill that dream. Every time I wore the shirt of our country I was happy and always tried to give my best, because belonging to this team filled me with pride.
A week ago the coach told me the news that no player wants to receive: “We are not going to take you into account for the World Cup for sporting reasons.” Since then they are difficult days for me. Days of much reflection. It makes me angry and sad, but at the same time I am calm with myself.
Each coach chooses his players and I don’t assume that because of my selection years they should give me nothing, I just think I deserved the opportunity to fight until the end for a place in the team. With two months to go until the World Cup, I feel that it is a considerable margin of time in which the coach’s perceptions could change and if there were doubts about my performance, I would have valued the possibility of earning a place in these 8 games that are coming up with European teams in the ProLeague. I deeply regret not having even the chance of that.
It hurts me and I don’t understand that being one of the captains, and having constant dialogue with the coaching staff, none of them warned me that they were not satisfied with my sports performance. No one ever gave me an indication of this, if they had told me where the fault was in my game, I would have given everything I have inside me to adjust it and thus be able to wear our colors. To this day I do not know what caused this sporting discontent.
Yes, I am convinced that the ways and forms in which decisions of such magnitude are communicated must be urgently modified. Personally, I did not deserve it after doing the gym and ready to start the hockey block, to be taken off the field with my shin guards on, mouth guard in hand and I am given such news. Leaving the Cenard like that hurt me.
We are Lionesses who defend our country’s shirt with a lot of dedication, effort and dedication. But before that, we are people and when communicating decisions that change our lifestyle from one second to another, forms, respect, healthy communication and honesty should be present and never be lost.
I tried all this time to act with the values that I learned from moments lived with this team, shared with current and previous litters, and to take care of that different mystique that you feel when putting on the shirt with the Leona on your chest.
I gave the Argentine National Team my heart, and I would do it again without a doubt.
I will be forever grateful for everyone’s support. From Argentina always.