|20 June 2013|
|Juan Carlos Navarro suited up for Spain in the past 15 summers, but now needs time to recover from a tough season |
A new EuroBasket MVP will be crowned in September as the holder of the Award, Spain star Juan Carlos Navarro, has admitted publicly that he will not travel to Slovenia with the reigning champions to defend his titles from 2011.
"Most surely I will take a rest from the national team this summer," an exhausted Navarro said after the final game of the ACB Finals on Wednesday night.
"Now it's too soon to think, it's time to rest.
"As I've said before, it's been a tough season for everyone [at FC Barcelona] and for me personally.
"I need to rest and recuperate well for next year," the 33-year-old shooting guard concluded.
The Barcelona captain picked up a hamstring injury in his right leg during Game 4 of the Finals series against Real Madrid on Sunday and was doubtful for the title-deciding fifth game until an hour before tip-off.
Many were surprised to see him in Barcelona's starting line-up in Game 5 but he was visibly affected and sat on the bench midway through the first quarter.
Although he returned to the clash later and stayed on the floor for eight and a half minutes in total, his presence in the big game was largely testimonial and, uncharacteristically, he finished with no points.
Navarro had missed a number of games through injury during the season and is believed to have played most of it through the pain in order to help his team.
In an interview with fibaeurope.com in the winter, he had made clear he would wait to see his physical condition at the end of the season before deciding whether he will suit up for Spain for a record 16th consecutive summer.
He became a Spanish international at the European Championship for Junior Men in 1998 and joined the senior national team already two summers later, at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Navarro is now tied with the also 1980-born Pau Gasol and Felipe Reyes as the most decorated players in history because the duo of big men played instead for the U20 Spanish team that summer and conquered bronze at the European Championship for Young Men.
Even so, the charismatic guard has collected two gold, two silver and one bronze EuroBasket medals, the 2010 World Championship title, as well as silver medals at the 2008 and the 2012 Olympics.
He propelled Spain to a second consecutive triumph at EuroBasket 2011 and was voted the tournament MVP as he averaged 18.7 points and three assists per game.