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‘You gave me strength’: Spain’s Carmona learns of father’s death after firing team to World Cup victory

Within the span of hours this weekend, Spain’s Women’s World Cup hero Olga Carmona experienced a career high and a deep loss, the latter of which was kept from her so she could focus on Sunday’s final.

Carmona, who scored Spain’s winning goal against England, learned of her father’s death after the game, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said in a statement.

“The RFEF deeply regrets to report the death of Olga Carmona’s father. The soccer player learned the sad news after the World Cup final. We send our most sincere hugs to Olga and her family in a moment of deep pain. We love you, Olga,” RFEF added.

In an emotionally charged post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Carmona likened her father to a star looking down on her while she played the final.

“And without being aware of it, I had my Star before kick off,” she wrote. “I know you gave me the strength to accomplish something truly unique. I know you were watching me tonight and that you are proud of me. Rest in peace, dad.”

Carmona posted another emotional tribute on X on Monday, the day after the World Cup final.

“I don’t have the words to thank all of your love,” the post read. “Yesterday was the best and worst day of my life.

“I know you’d want me to enjoy this historic moment – because of that I’ll be with my teammates, so that wherever you are, you’ll know that this star is also yours, Dad.”

Carmona’s club, Real Madrid, also issued a statement expressing its condolences.

“Real Madrid C.F., the president and the Board of Directors are deeply saddened by the passing of the father of our player Olga Carmona. Real Madrid would like to extend our condolences and heartfelt sympathy to Olga, her family and all her loved ones. May he rest in peace,” the statement read.

Carmona’s 29th-minute strike proved to be the winner, making La Roja only the second country, after Germany, to win both the men’s and women’s World Cups.

Following the goal, Carmona lifted her shirt in celebration. After the match, she explained the reason she did that was to honor the mother of her best friend who recently passed away.

Carmona’s goal delivered Spain the win against the odds. That La Roja triumphed against the reigning European champion and pre-match favorite despite the disputes and divisions that have clouded the national team throughout the tournament makes this achievement extraordinary.

Last year, 15 Spanish players declared themselves unavailable for selection, saying they were unhappy with the training methods of head coach Jorge Vilda, who had described the situation at the time as a “world embarrassment.”

Only three of those 15 players who had written letters to RFEF last year, saying the “situation” within the national team was affecting their “emotional state” and health, were selected for the World Cup squad.

The country is now the best in the world, but the international futures of those exiled players remain unclear. With victory, the questions surrounding the national set-up, of whether or how the dispute can be resolved, do not disappear.

If the off-pitch issues can be resolved, Spain’s future shines bright, because now, incredibly, the Iberian nation is a Women’s World Cup winner at Under-17, Under-20 and senior level.

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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