Healthy Pau Sets Sights On World Cup

06.05.2014

FIBA BASKETBALL WORLD CUP

Pau Gasol, Spain celebrating after winning the Olympic Semi-Final against Russia
Pau Gasol will be hoping to convey similar emotions this summer when Spain hosts the FIBA Basketball World Cup

Pau Gasol went through a season underlined by uncertainty and instability, both literally and metaphorically, but is now standing firm again, both of his enormous feet firmly planted on the ground.

The Spanish superstar missed the latter part of the NBA season, possibly his last with the Los Angeles Lakers, because of vertigo spells, the cause of which was difficult to diagnose at first.

"Now I feel very well, fortunately, I have recovered 100%," Gasol siad at a press conference in Madrid on Monday.

"I had never been through anything like this, a viral infection that affected the inside of my ear and my balance," he explained.

"There are no guarantees in life, it can happen to anyone.

"Now it's in the past and I am very glad.

"During my last week in Los Angeles I did basketball training and I felt completely normal."

One of the first decisions that the two-time EuroBasket champion, two-time Olympic silver medallist and 2006 World Champion made after recovering his health, was a firm declaration of intentions for his immediate future with the Spanish national team and a big upcoming event on home soil.

"I feel I have a lot of strength and will to play in the World Cup," Gasol said.

"I am very excited about this summer and the World Cup is the most immediate championship."

Will the FIBA Basketball World Cup at home this summer however be the last time the soon to be 34-year-old big man suits up for the national team?

"Every time I play in a championship I approach it as if it were my last and that's going to be the attitude this time too," Gasol replied diplomatically.

One of the major issues Spain will have to resolve before they start preparations for the big tournament is whether they will include Nikola Mirotic or Serge Ibaka.

Both players have played in the past for 'La Roja' (Mirotic only at U20 level) but they cannot co-exist on the same team, since they arrived in Spain as teenagers and are naturalised citizens.

"Mirotic's situation is difficult because it can be either him or [Serge] Ibaka, the coach will decide," Gasol replied when asked about the Real Madrid power forward.

Nikola Mirotic - Real Madrid
"(Nikola) Mirotic's situation is difficult because it can be either him or [Serge] Ibaka, the coach will decide" - Gasol on which naturalised Spaniard will play for their adopted nation this year

"He [Mirotic] seems to me to be a great player with lots of future, but Juan [Orenga] is the one to make the decision and I will be thrilled to play alongside either of the two, because they are both great players.

"We cannot disobey the rules and we also have other players who play at this position, like Marc [Gasol] or Felipe [Reyes]."

Pau is now a free-agent in the NBA and the mention of his brother, who will continue at Memphis Grizzlies, sparked a question about the possibility of him joining forces with Marc or another Spanish international on the same team next season.

"Of course I would like to play with my brother Marc, it would be very special, or with Ricky [Rubio], Jose [Calderon], Serge [Ibaka] or with Juan Carlos Navarro but it's not something which is going to influence my decision, there are other factors above that," Pau said.

Ideally, the Spanish big man would like to join a team 'that aims to win and, hopefully, challenge for the NBA title.'

"On 1st July the process begins and I can hear offers, it seems like there will be several interested teams, I will listen and then choose the best option," he added.

"I am excited about being in control and being able to make a choice for my present and my future."

 


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