Kosovare Asllani, Real Madrid Femenino’s first Galáctica, had very harsh words for her former club when speaking to Swedish media on national team duty.
There are very many different factors. It is difficult to go into detail, but for me part it is very much about whether I think it is a culture in the club, which is unhealthy for players to be in, which I myself have been in, where I have almost been forced to play injured and did not receive help. The management team has not listened to the medical team and, in the end, it was a decision that I had to make to have a longer career. It has become a very unhealthy and dangerous environment for players to be in.
I think I have done a lot for the club from the beginning and then I have seen that the club has not treated players well during all these years. I think it’s important for me to talk, since no one else has. I have tried to make changes, but in the end, the environment created there is one where they refuse to listen to the medical team and the players. It is no coincidence that I was injured over there and had a setback, as you are constantly pushed to play injured or sick. It is not a healthy environment.
I care an incredible amount about the club, but I feel that it is in the wrong hands.
I do not regret that I went there. I do not regret my decision, as I felt it was the right step, but for me it is also about, as a player who played at the top level for a number of years, to also listen and do things better to create a professional environment. I say this because I want it to be a professional environment and they know that too. I hope that will be the case for the players who remain there.
I do not think it is the only club where coaches run over the medical team. I think it’s an environment created by just wanting results and seeing players as products. It does not matter if someone is injured. I have not been in an environment where I have been pushed as much to play injured as there. That’s why I’ve been there (injured) for most of the season.
When Asllani was asked if she tried to raise the topic with the club, her answer was:
It has been going on during all three years I’ve been there and, looking back on it, I probably should have left last summer, but I wanted to give them one more chance. You want to make a difference, as it is a big club and you want to help it succeed. I’ve been a big part of the club’s history and done a lot for it, but, unfortunately, it’s an environment that is not healthy, and it’s not just me [who experienced it]. There are an incredible number of players in the club who have had to go through a lot, which I do not think is okay and is right in a top club.
Asllani was also asked what she thinks is needed to change the environment for the better:
First and foremost, you need the right people and the right employees in the right positions in the club, and leaders who care about their players and their health, and work as a team at all levels. The medical team has been incredibly run down and then you come to the national team where it is totally the opposite. They ask if you are feeling well or if you need to take it easy. There is such a difference. It’s so professional here.