Spain Coach Opens Up on Loss of Ricky Rubio Ahead of FIBA World Cup

Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo will be looking to reclaim the world champions’ title in the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup but the team will have to do it without Ricky Rubio.

32-year-old Rubio shocked the world over the weekend when he announced he will be putting basketball his career on hold indefinitely due to mental health reasons.

Scariolo has shown nothing but love and support for Rubio in what would be a trying time for him.

The head coach was one of the first to support Rubio on social media and has since explained he is dealing with a “very personal issue”.

“We must be as close as we can to encourage and support him,” Scariolo told BasketNews. “He is not just a player on this team, he is like a nephew to me. Now the important thing is to leave him in his privacy and wait for a time when he has the energy to enjoy basketball again.”

Four years ago in China, Spain were the winners of the FIBA tournament and Rubio was named MVP.

Scariolo spoke about the difficulties of replacing Rubio in the guard position.

“We have incorporated Juan Nunez and we have other players who can play in that position,” Scariolo. “But it’s not so much a question of role, we have to generate a little more play, because we have an obvious deficit in handling the ball and we have to look for formulas to generate advantages.

“We also have to increase the level of defense to force turnovers from the opponents to be able to run the court. There are no magic formulas. It is an emergency situation, complicated and we have to do what is in our hands.”

The side’s captain, Rudy Fernandez said was annoyed at himself for not realizing his teammates’ situation and not being with “him at that moment when he needed us so much.”

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“Ricky is working on his well-being right now and we have 16 players who are going to give 100% and deserve the same respect,” Fernandez said.

READ MORE: FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Schedule: Dates, Times, Where to Watch