Pau Gasol returns to Barcelona with sights set on EuroLeague title

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BARCELONA, March 25 (Xinhua) — After 20 years playing in the NBA, Spain’s greatest basketball player of all time, Pau Gasol, has returned to his first club, FC Barcelona.

Gasol announced his return at the end of February and arrived in Barcelona on March 3, but the six-time NBA All-Star was officially presented on Thursday by the club’s new president, Joan Laporta, in a ceremony that included his wife Catherine and six-month-old daughter Elisabet Gianna.

During the presentation, Gasol gave thanks to the club and its fans and said his “biggest dream” was to win the EuroLeague, European basketball’s highest competition, one of the few titles the player has never won.

“Perhaps, I am not the same Pau who left 20 years ago, nor am I the same Pau from 10 years ago, but I think I’m still a special player who hopes to contribute unique things to the team and the club,” said Gasol.

Now 40, Gasol has not played an official game in two years due to a serious foot injury. While the player has been training with his new team since his return, he remained cautious about stating when he might make his return to the court.

“We haven’t set a specific date for my return. Yesterday we trained well at a demanding level, and we’ll train again today, and we’ll see how things go this week to be able to choose a date to return to the court. I hope that it will be soon,” he said.

Barca have not lifted the EuroLeague trophy since 2010 but are well-placed ahead of the play-offs, leading the round robin league table with four games remaining.

Gasol will also be looking to represent Spain for the fifth time at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. The player has seen great success with the Spanish national team, winning the 2006 World Championships and Olympic silver medals in 2008 and 2012 and bronze in 2016, along with three gold, two silver, and two bronze Eurobasket medals.

“I’m determined to come back and play and that’s why I’m here today. It’s been difficult but at the same time I’ve always been clear that whatever happens I’ve had a privileged career and I’ve been very lucky. So I just want to finish my career the best way possible and finish my career as a player and competing,” said Gasol during his presentation. Enditem

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