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Pau Gasol returns to Barça 20 years later and will culminate his career at the Games | sports

At 40 years old and in a difficult situation, because almost two years have passed since he was injured and has had to face a complicated recovery process, the determination of Pau Gasol It has been as steadfast and ambitious as all the ones he has taken throughout his extraordinary career. He wants to compete again and do it in a team with aspirations. He always spoke of the two who have marked his career, the Lakers and Barça. It is not official, but sources close to the entity assure that the option for Pau to return home to the club he joined when he was 16 years old, and in which he acquired star status in just a season and a half in the club, crystallizes. elite. In 2001 he won the Cup and the League and was the best in both competitions. And being a beardless, when his environment advised him to have patience to make a leap to the NBA that seemed the most risky at the time, he opted to compete with the greatest, as with his idol Michael Jordan, stand up to Kevin Garnett when he was He was a rookie and teaming up with Kobe Bryant to make history with the Lakers, with whom he reached three finals and won titles in 2009 and 2010.

After a long, uncertain and unprecedented decision process due to the injury that prevented him from playing since his last game with the Milwaukee Bucks on March 10, 2019, the pandemic and the disarray in all competitions, from the NBA to the Games Olímpicos, the emblematic Spanish player has opted to return to the Palau until the end of the season, although Pau himself, after the news was published, tweeted: get back on track. When he has something to announce, he will do it through the networks ”. Pau Gasol’s contract at Barça will be very low, the proportional part of the minimum salary in the ACB which is 68,337 euros. But that is the least important to him. His goal is to compete at the highest level, win a title with Barça, especially the Euroleague. You have a pending account. The season in which he played it, Barça was eliminated after a match against Benetton de Treviso that did not play due to an operation for appendicitis. To culminate the season and his career, Pau wants to play what would be his fifth Olympic Games with a team that he led from 2001 to 2015, with which he won the 2006 World Cup, three Eurobasket and two silver medals and one bronze in the Olympic Games.

Pau has trained for the past few months in Northern California, on a field near the house where he resides with his wife, Catherine McDonnell, and their five-month-old daughter Elisabet Gianna. Operated twice for a navicular stress fracture in his left foot, he has worked hard in his recovery, although with all the inconveniences arising from confinement due to the pandemic. He has posted images of his workouts on social media.

Barça has just been proclaimed champion of the Copa del Rey, leads the Euroleague and is second in the classification of the Endesa League. Saras Jasikevicius, the coach, wanted to bring in a center. The Barça coach knows Pau very well, with whom he came to play at Barça, and against whom he faced on occasion in national team competitions. Mirotic, who signed for Barça in July 2019, is a personal friend of Pau. They played together two seasons (2014-2015 and 2015-2016) in the Chicago Bulls, before the Sant Boi player signed for the San Antonio Spurs, and they met again for a few months in Milwaukee.

Pau’s return to Barça has been possible thanks to the good relationship they have. The center of Sant Boi signed an agreement with the Barcelona entity whereby he is, since March 2019, its strategic advisor and global ambassador in the United States. He also played with Nacho Rodríguez, Barça’s sports director. The news of Pau’s return accelerated because the Euroleague closes the transfer limit on February 24. The low outlay for the club has allowed the Management Board to give its approval. Barça is immersed in the electoral period and the new president will be elected on March 7. The applicants are Joan Laporta, Víctor Font and Toni Freixa. The latter published a tweet this Saturday in which he wrote that the team does not play until Friday, but “it could be that these days we have some great news.” Attached a photograph of Pau Gasol. The news was confirmed shortly afterwards, although not officially, since the club limited itself to indicating that “neither confirms nor denies” Freixa’s tweet.

An emotional frenzy

Pau has suffered, for better and for worse, an intense and constant emotional frenzy during the last two years. He underwent foot surgery (May 9, 2019), saw his brother Marc win the NBA champion ring (June 13) and also the World Cup with the Spanish team (September 15), he married Catherine McDonnell ( July 7), signed and soon after terminated his contract with Portland (July 25 and November 20). 2020 could not have started in a worse way. His friends Kobe Bryant (January 26), Pau Donés (June 9) and Carlos Ruiz Zafón (June 20) died. He turned 40 (July 6), and his first daughter Elisabet Gianna was born (September 10), with that second name in honor of Kobe’s daughter, who died in the same helicopter accident as her father. And, finally, he has made the decision to return to Barça. Returning to play in a high-level team was his premise to be able to fulfill the objective of competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games that will begin on July 23.