“I will no longer wear this shirt, but I will stay close to this dressing room”



Laia Palau was already the history of the Spanish team and from today is legend. The Catalan leaves the national team after 314 games with that shirt and twelve medals I gotyou give. Three golds in the European, an olympic silver and another in the World Cup are his most important joys, to which is added another European silver, two world bronzes and four more in the Eurobasket. A giant track record that it will be difficult to match and that it is a legacy that goes beyond the podium, since his dedication and philosophy of life mark the way for the youngest, now called to lead a key generational change in the future of the national team.

A small stage with all his trophies, the shirt with the number ‘9’ in the center and a picture of him giving thanks. A simple act, surrounded by her companions and their relatives and a phrase. «Let’s make it official quick. In case anyone was not expecting it after seeing all this, yes, I am withdrawing from the national team ». This is how Laia Palau said goodbye to her soul team. Of the family’. A goodbye that is a see you later, because he left the door open to come back next summer and help. «I’m not wearing this shirt anymore, but I want to be around. I am passionate about the project and I know that I will continue to be close. I do not know yet how, but I will be », explained the Catalan, excited but without shedding a tear.

A brief review helped him to say thank you. First to his family, “my trapeze artist network”, and then to his companions and the federation. All accomplices of a brilliant twenty-year career. «Thank you for giving me so much. I couldn’t imagine this. Thank you all and life.

The endless applause when he closed his speech almost broke his resistance, but it failed. «I’m not going to cry so don’t go on», Explained the player of the Uni Girona, where he will continue to play at least until the end of the season.

It will then be time to decide what to do. Whether to continue on the courts or to jump into the void. The federation awaits you to accompany you, as confirmed Jorge Garbajosa. «For Laia there will always be a place in this house. She is basketball and we know that near the court is where she feels most comfortable, but we will know how to find a place where she can help her teammates and everyone. spanish basketball», Said the president.

The last summer was bitter for her and for the national team. It was not the expected ending. No prize either at the Valencia European Championship or at the Tokyo Games. “Me I already knew that this summer was going to be the last, I was going to retire after the Games and the pandemic forced me to extend another year. I love this and I have a great time with her, but it comes naturally. The space that one occupies means that things do not change and there are times when they have to be done differently», Explained Palau, who now will have more time to go with his ‘Calixta’, the van in which he escapes every summer to free his mind. Introspective journey that will take more days but will not take you away from the team’s dressing room. His charisma will continue to be present. The captain gives the baton to Silvia Dominguez, guardian from now on of that spirit that has turned Spain into a giant team in the last decade. “I would not erase anything,” says the Catalan in an emotional goodbye, without tears. Simple like her. An end to his height.

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