Huesca defend Ruben Semedo loan with defender awaiting attempted murder trial
Huesca have defended their loan signing of Ruben Semedo despite the defender awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and robbery.
The newly promoted La Liga club said they have no intention of monitoring Semedo's behaviour off the pitch and waved away concerns over his fitness by saying the 24-year-old "played a few games in prison."
Semedo joined Huesca on a season-long loan from Villarreal just one week after his parent club confirmed the player had been released from prison after paying a bail of €30,000. He had spent 141 days in preventive detention after being arrested on Feb. 20.
"There will not be any monitoring done on Semedo's off-the-pitch lifestyle," Huesca sporting director Emilio Vega told Cadena Ser radio. "We are not going to have anyone following the player.
"Semedo has to follow the same rules as the other 23 players in the team and if anyone doesn't, he will be fined. He told us he is grateful for this opportunity and he wants to prove himself on the pitch and show a good behaviour. Everyone deserves a second chance."
Semedo, who cannot leave the country and has to report to a court in Huesca once a week, last played an official game on Dec. 10 when Villarreal lost 2-0 to Barcelona in La Liga.
"What he is lacking is the rhythm of competition," Vega said. "He has arrived with an ideal weight as he did some work there [in prison]. He is physically strong and in very good condition. He also played a few games in prison."
Asked if a clause exists in Semedo's contract terminating his loan move if found guilty of the charges against him, Vega said: "Contracts are confidential and I cannot mention what specific clauses have been included.
"I don't like to talk hypothetically, we have a presumption of innocence, we have given full confidence to the player and once the sentence is given, we will sit down and discuss what to do. We are a serious and responsible club. We will make a wise and coherent decision."
Villlarreal signed Semedo in a club-record €14 million transfer from Sporting Lisbon in June last year, and the former Portugal under-21 international made six appearances for the Yellow Submarine, including three La Liga starts.
"We know that had this situation not happened, we would not have had access to this player," Vega said. "There is no purchase option. We want to enjoy the player this season, we are certain he will play at a high level for us. We shall see what happens after that. We will pay part of his wages. It's been a good deal for us in every sense.
"We had it very clear from the beginning that Semedo could be a good option for us. We are not judges, when we made the decision, we only considered the sporting aspect. It will be the justice system to make a ruling. In the meantime, he has the presumption of innocence, he is free and he is a player, a very good one."
Vega has no doubt Huesca is the ideal place for Semedo to spend this season.
"This club and city is different and special," he said. "He will have no problems adapting. It's a very calm environment. It's a very hospitable city, and this club is like a family. It will be very good for him. What we are looking to give him is tranquility so that he can perform at his best level."
Semedo, meanwhile, said he cannot wait to get started at Huesca.
"I'm very enthusiastic, with a lot of confidence and very eager for La Liga to start," Semedo said during his unveiling on Friday. "I want to have an important role. I think we are going to have a competitive side and that we can achieve our aim which is to defend our status."
Huesca gained promotion to La Liga for the first time in the club's 58-year history after finishing second in the Segunda Division in the 2017-18 campaign.