BUENOS AIRES San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili has become resigned to not playing for Argentina again after missing the World Cup in Spain through injury.
“Today, I can say for almost certain, 98 percent, that I won’t play any more (for Argentina),” the 37-year-old said in an interview with the Buenos Aires daily La Nacion published on Saturday.
Ginobili helped the Spurs win the NBA title in June but his club has refused him permission to play for his country at the World Cup because of a stress fracture.
The NBA has an agreement with the sport's world governing body FIBA which stipulates that only players and not clubs can refuse their country's invitation to play for the national team except for a "reasonable medical concern."
The Spurs invoked this clause to prevent Ginobili from playing for Argentina in Spain at the tournament starting on Aug. 30 because of lingering effects of his injury.
Ginobili said he normally does not feel any pain but “when I jump, push or brake on the parquet (floor) is when it starts hurting.
“If I’d played this tournament it would have been the last, that’s sure… It’s hard and it always will be to retire from this (Argentina) team,” said Ginobili, a member of his country’s so-called golden generation.
Ginobili, who had originally thought he would retire from international competition at the London Olympic Games two years ago, helped Argentina win the silver medal at the 2002 World Cup in Indianapolis, gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and bronze four years later in Beijing.
He has won four NBA titles since joining Spurs in 2002.
(Writing by Rex Gowar, editing by Pritha Sarkar)