Gasol looks to end his brilliant international career at the 5th Olympics

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Pau Gasol, 41, hopes to enjoy his last Olympic run.

TOKYO, July 21 (Xinhua) – Pau Gasol is arguably the greatest Spanish basketball player of all time, with a world title, two Olympic silver and bronze medals and three European championships among his many triumphs, including two NBA titles and six appearances in All-Star events.

Now the 41-year-old is hoping to help Spain achieve more Olympic success in Tokyo after spending the end of last season with his home team FC Barcelona to regain form after overcoming a serious injury. to the foot which required two operations.

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“I dreamed of continuing to play, of retiring on the court at the highest level and it got me through the tough times,” Gasol explained in an interview with El Pais as he prepares for his fifth Olympic Games.

“Maybe the smart thing would have been to say ‘I’ve come this far and can be proud of what I’ve done’, but I’ve never been a conformist and it was amazing to win another title with Barça, “he said, explaining that the” desire “and” the conviction not to throw in the towel is what pushed me to overcome something that was very complicated “.

Japan is the scene of Spain’s greatest basketball triumph when they won the 2006 world title in the country, although Gasol missed that final with injury.

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“I would sigh now if I could get injured again, but we won the gold medal,” he said.

“The mentality of Spain is always ambitious, working, enjoying and giving everything, we always go to the end and we will start again,” he said, looking at the silver medals they won at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, as well as bronze at Rio 2016.

“The two Olympic finals against the United States were competitive finals and in Beijing we were closer. In the end, we failed a bit but with the feeling that we had options to win. You have to realize how much it’s hard to win a medal and bronze at Rio 2016 was also very important, ”said Gasol, who accepts that at 41, his role has changed.

“Obviously it will be different. My goal is not to play every minute that I played before or to have the role that I had. But I can do meaningful work, contribute, make the difference. difference and help the team win and. ” be better, “commented the player, who accepts that Tokyo will see the end of its international career after 20 years.

“This will be my last championship with the national team and it will be very emotional. I aim to enjoy every moment as if it were the last, which in this case it will be,” he concluded.

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