Pedro Sánchez gives Pau Gasol the Grand Cross: “You are the absolute benchmark of Spanish sport”

The President of the Executive highlights the “ethical and social commitment” of the former player of the Lakers and FC Barcelona

MADRID, June 2 (.) –

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, highlighted this Thursday the “ethical and social commitment” of former basketball player Pau Gasol, and that he is the “absolute reference” and “perhaps” the best Spanish athlete, in the delivery of the Grand Cross of Merit Deportivo in La Moncloa to the former player of the Lakers and FC Barcelona.

“You are the absolute benchmark of Spanish sport. We pay tribute to what we can consider a great athlete of all time, perhaps the best. This Grand Cross recognizes a spectacular and formidable career. Say Pau Gasol is to speak of one of the great athletes and of basketball of all time”, commented Pedro Sánchez.

The event, held at the Palacio de La Moncloa, was attended by the Minister of Culture and Sports, Miquel Iceta; the Secretary of State for Sport, José Manuel Franco; the president of the Spanish Paralympic Committee (CPE), Miguel Carballeda; the president of the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB), Jorge Garbajosa; that of the ACB, Antonio Martín, and, among others, the swimmer Teresa Perales.

For Sánchez that a Spanish player like Pau Gasol, who signed a ball for the chief executive, has achieved these goals was “pure fantasy.” “He has managed to normalize what is extraordinarily exceptional. We not only recognize sporting achievements but how to achieve them,” he stressed.

Likewise, he underlined three characteristics of the personality of the older Gasol: teamwork, ethical and social commitment “indisputable” in everything he does, and that he has known how to “enjoy” his sport. “Beyond the tactics and the brilliance of scoring, basketball is a team sport. No one has embodied it better than Pau Gasol,” he noted.

“You have enjoyed the sport. This is your legacy. Not only have you been able to close your career in the way you deserved, but you also get the affection of all the people who have shared the path with you and of the millions of people who see you at a good man. Uniting personal success with righteousness and kindness are within the reach of very few, and you have achieved them, “he concluded.

For his part, the Minister of Culture and Sport, Miquel Iceta, confessed that it was also an “honor” and a “pleasure” for him to present this distinction to one of the “greatest athletes in the history” of Spanish sport together with to a representation of its best representatives.

“Here there are many medals, a lot of commitment, hope and enthusiasm. Pau is the embodiment of all the values ​​that we associate with sporting merit such as victory, effort, honor and sportsmanship. Gasol’s triumphs are mirrors where we see ourselves reflected as society. Pau always insists on humility, and someone who has reached the top says it,” he said.


Representing the athletes, the Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales, 2021 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports, addressed a “friend” and an athlete she admires so much. “Thank you for everything you have given us, for the times you have made us jump for joy and see those trophies raised. The greatest example of an athlete is the values ​​that he transmits and that do not stay on the field, and you have not stopped teaching them for a moment. This Grand Cross falls short. As a mother I know it, and there is nothing more beautiful than seeing a son succeed,” he said, referring to the former player’s mother.

During the event, a video was shown in which some of the best Spanish athletes such as the swimmer Ona Carbonell, the former basketball player Laia Palau, her former coach Joan Montes, the former soccer player Íker Casillas, the karate fighter Damián Quintero and the former Olympic badminton champion Carolina Marín congratulate Gasol for his distinction, the highest granted to an athlete by the Spanish Government.

The granting of the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Sports Merit was approved by the Executive on October 19 of last year to recognize his “outstanding career in the field of sports, but also for the work of putting into practice sports , physical education and prestige” the name of Spain.

Pau Gasol announced his retirement from professional basketball on October 5, after completing a career that kept him in the elite for more than two decades. The former player of the Lakers and FC Barcelona, ​​recently Legend Award at the ISDE Sports Convention 2022, won two NBA champion rings, two golds at the 2006 and 2019 World Cups, silver at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games and the bronze in Rio 2016 and, among other achievements, three ACB Leagues.

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