Ricky Rubio presented as Barcelona player: “I’m here because I feel good”

2024-02-26T15:07:31+00:00 2024-02-26T15:08:23+00:00.

Alex Molina Perello

26/Feb/24 15:07


Barcelona officially presented Ricky Rubio, and Spanish player opened up about his break from basketball and return to the court

By Alex Molina / info@eurohoops.net

After playing for the Spanish national team and thus fulfilling his wish to return to the court defending the colors of Spain, Ricky Rubio has been officially presented as a Barça player.

Once the contract was signed, which, as Ricky himself has revealed, is for only this season, the Catalan point guard began his speech thanking everyone involved in his recovery.

“Thank you to the press and the basketball world for the privacy that I requested. It was a very complicated moment, I did not understand what was happening to me and they left me my space. I am still in a process and this never ends. Also to the FEB. When it happened, I felt what ‘La Família’ meant. There were two ways everything could have gone when I went to Scariolo’s room that afternoon to tell him that I had to leave. The Federation could have pushed me to continue playing but they chose to think about the person before the player and gave me space and support. Now that I have asked for their help again they gave it to me in this I have been with them, another step in my recovery. I want to thank the Cleveland Cavaliers too, they did not pressure me to come back, they supported me from day one, giving me all the resources to help with my mental health and they have been incredible, they will always have a place in my heart,” Rubio said.

He then talked about re-joining Barcelona.

“What I asked of Barça was not easy, it was something out of the ordinary. Entering a professional club, in the middle of the season and asking for unusual conditions… They have accepted it, and the staff and managers understood it. And also in the locker room, in 18 years as a professional, I had not been in a situation like this and they accepted me in an incredible way, I felt respected and that they understood my situation. And also to my family and friends. When you are in a difficult moment, feeling that you are not alone helps you move forward.”

After that, Ricky explained the reasons that had led him to step away from the basketball courts momentarily.

“I developed chronic stress and that made my body deregulate. There were no labels, I had symptoms of mental health problems and the only way to deal with them was by understanding why and how I had gotten to that point, and that took time. It was due to two factors, one internal and the other external. The internal one is because of how I think of myself, mechanisms that had led me to play at the highest level but were not sustainable, and now I have seen that there is another way. I still don’t fully believe it, but my psychologist tells me to trust them and take care of myself. And then the external ones, because of the competition. Something I had to stay away from and both the FEB and the Cavaliers understood it. I was very scared but I thought it was the right thing to do, I had to get away from basketball. Thanks to this I am now at this point, with the ball in my hands again, enjoying myself a lot but also taking care of myself.”

He admits that he wasn’t sure whether he would return to the court.

“For me, basketball was over forever, but in the last few months I have worked a lot, I have been in the dark but by working and with the necessary help, you can get out. The player ate the person, a very complicated moment. They have made me see that this fear can be managed. Sometimes, being nervous is good for activating the body, but we have to relativize a lot and put meaning into that. Being afraid is not the same as being nervous or worried. There are many grays in this life and I am learning to draw in gray. Since August 1st, every day I woke up basketball was over. We have been working on the person, in the end, there are things that go together and others that have to be separated. At 14 years old I entered the professional world and built myself from the outside in. Now I go from inside to outside, it’s hard but it is very rewarding. I have saved myself, I am here because I feel good and comfortable, a life lesson.”

Already in a competition dynamic after playing two games with the Spanish team, Ricky is clear about his objectives both on a personal level and with Barça. 

“I want to enjoy, be comfortable, and control what I can control. No matter how hard we try, we cannot control the uncontrollable. I have a clear objective: to use mechanisms that are sustainable to bring the team to the set objectives. How could it be that after so much time I can’t overcome one more problem? I felt like the most cowardly person in the world. But now looking at it with perspective I think I was very brave, I thought about myself and gave priority to what was happening to me, the problem was bigger than basketball, it was about me and I had to give it some time. I came back in conditions that were not normal and I needed a special connection, a sincerity that they have given me from minute one. Regardless of the fact that I know them, they have helped me feel comfortable, which was what I needed before anything else. At no time have I felt different. Being treated like everyone else seems obvious, but in the professional world egos and other factors can come into play and I think that when I thought about where to go and how to go, I made the right choice. I knew a lot of people, and they told me that the locker room was amazing and it is. The contract is only for this year and I am 100% committed but if this happens again I will have to stop. They have respected this and I hope it doesn’t have to be used,” Ricky Rubio concluded.

“It’s a dream seeing you play with Barcelona again”

Joan Laporta, FC Barcelona’s president, had some special words for Ricky.

“Today is a great day for Barça and basketball. Ricky returns to the Palau and Barça to help achieve this season’s goals. We want to thank you for making this wish possible, it’s a dream seeing you play with Barça again. This shows your commitment to the club and your love for basketball. In addition to being a reference in the world of basketball for your talent, you are an exceptional human being and you transmit a lot of strength to us. Your smile dazzles us and your ability to improve is extraordinary. In addition to being a reference, I would like to highlight Ricky’s human contribution. With your foundation and ours, you have found how to coordinate and collaborate and we thank you very much. To finish, I would like to highlight the great work that is being done in the basketball section, you can rest assured: basketball is in the best hands,” Laporta said.