Barçelona Lassa receives this Sunday afternoon Real Madrid in what will be the 10th Gameday of the Liga Endesa and also the first “clásico” of the season. Both Barça and Madrid are leaders in the ACB with a balance of 8 wins and one defeat.
Update: Due to the death of Juan Carlos Navarro’s father, the ceremonial tribute in honour of the ex-leader of the Catalan team was postponed to a later date. ‘La Bomba’, who announced his withdrawal from the courts last August, was to be honoured in the pre-match against Real Madrid in a ceremony that was to conclude with the withdrawal of its legendary shirt and the number ’11 ‘, that will be hanged forever on the roof of the Barça home-court.
After 21 years in the first team and 27 in the club -with the only parenthesis of a season in the NBA-, Navarro is the 13th player of Barça who sees his shirt retired. FC Barcelona communicated through social networks that Ricardo Navarro, father of ‘La Bomba’, died during the early hours of the morning and expressed its condolences to both the former player and his entire family. Juan Carlos Navarro’s ascendance to the sky of the Palau Blaugrana will have to wait.
The team of Pablo Laso arrives at the Palau in a good moment of form, in spite of having lost in the last Euroleague match to Olympiacos on the road. The Whites share the leadership in the ACB with Barça Lassa and in Europe they are first in the table, along with Fenerbahce and CSKA Moscow (8-1). Barcelona, on the other hand, arrives at a good moment after overcoming Olympia Milan 90-80 on Friday. Both teams want to close the week with a victory that will allow them to be the only leaders in the standings of the domestic competition.
Two experienced Spanish players of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Victor Claver and Rudy Fernández, met with TalkBasket.net in Greece. You will read about their views on their teams’respective games against Panathinaikos and Olympiacos in separate posts.
Claver was asked about the last piece of advice that Navarro gave to him or the team. “He is talking little”, he replied. “I will cherish everything he has done, showing how great he was. Well, now sometimes he comes to see us and tries to be with us but -above all- I keep everything he has given to basketball, both playing for Barca and for the national team. He is a one-of-a-kind player and there is noone like him”.
Asked about how Barcelona Lassa will manage this year without him, the 30-year-old forward said: “It’s about contributing a little more to the team. Tomic is the captain, but the players who have been in the team the longest and have more experience, try to help too. We try to be a solid team and to show it every day”.
On his part, Rudy Fernández commented on the game: “It’s the season’s dynamic of having to play two Euroleague games in a week and travelling to Barcelona on Sunday. It’s a complicated calendar, but we’re eager to face another league match”.
On the withdrawal of Juan Carlos Navarro’s shirt, Rudy stated: “I am happy to have been a witness to his career. We have been teammates for many years in the national team. He has been a great player and a great friend. The truth is that all the tributes that Juan Carlos is being paid to and all the ceremonies organized for him, are fully justified. He deserves all the best”.