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Send off to Spanish basketball team, who will take part in 2019 World Cup in China

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Friday 23 August 2019

PEDRO SÁNCHEZ, Acting President of the Government.

Good day to you all. Good day also to the media and, above all, a very special welcome to the technical staff of the Spanish Federation and the whole team, that will represent us in China, the men's national basketball team.

Earlier, María Victoria said that just over two months ago we were also here at a very similar event, with the Spanish women's basketball team, and then, three weeks later, we celebrated their victory, which we well remember.

In the end, this type of event conveys the feelings that you mentioned in your questions, María Victoria, when you asked what feelings you have, the feelings of excitement that Sergio mentioned earlier, of enthusiasm and work, of competing and feeling, as Marc said before, comfortable out on the court. I believe that these are feelings that you all convey to each other in the preparatory matches you have played here in Spain. I obviously haven't missed any of them, nor those in the United States, and I hope not to miss many of the Spanish team's matches in China. Given the time difference, I will try and record them and watch them in our spare moments.

And I would like to convey something that Jorge mentioned earlier: a tremendous sense of gratitude and respect for what you do, for the such professional work you do, for the sacrifices you make to represent Spain, at a time of well-deserved rest, in competitions and with levels of demand and self-motivation that I am sure you put yourselves under when competing for your respective teams.

Of course, I am now 47 years old and have followed basketball from a very young age and I am a true fan of the sport and of many of you whom I have seen grow on TV. Now there are some of you that I have come to know over recent years and what we can see, deep down, is a continuity, which I would like to highlight. Firstly, the composition of the team is absolutely inter-generational, and secondly, what this all goes to show is work well done, firstly by the Federation, and also the work well done by the technical staff of the Spanish basketball team; and clearly also by the basketball clubs from the junior squads, from the most modest teams through to the teams that make all of us dream with the great basketball that exists in Europe and in Spain and which deserves highlighting.

We look a great deal to the United States, but quite clearly European basketball is increasingly more demanding and increasingly more outstanding, and the only thing left for me to say to you is, as President of the Government, but, above all, as a basketball fan, is to thank you, and I want to stress your quality, firstly as individual players, but also, and above all, as a team. We should also be grateful for the commitment of a great trainer, a great coach like Sergio, and I feel it is only fair to acknowledge his entire coaching staff.

On many occasions, we only look at the five players that are out on the court, but more importantly there is a great deal of tactical work done on this blackboard that María Victoria mentioned before, and that I look at often in the time-outs which the cameras show and wish you all the very best.

I believe that you have everything needed to win and something that Sergio mentioned and that I will take away with me; the last thing you need is to feel under pressure. I think that what you must do is enjoy the game, as we see you enjoy yourselves every time you go out on court and, aside from that, feel the warmth, protection, affection and support of the whole Spanish population who will be glued to the TV watching the Spanish team win, play, compete and, in short, do what you do extraordinarily well.

Thank you very much.

(Transcript edited by the State Secretariat for Communication)

Non official translation