Leandro Barbosa: I feel the same motivation as my first World Cup

2019-06-23T08:31:36+00:00 2019-06-23T08:31:36+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

23/Jun/19 08:31


Leandro Barbosa is gearing up for his fifth participation in the FIBA World Cup with Brazil.

By Eurohoops team/ info@eurohoops.net

Leandro Barbosa has been around for the Brazilian National Team, but is eagerly awaiting the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The 36-year-old guard talked to FIBA about his goals at China, Brazil’s opponents and how excited he is three months ahead of his fifth World Cup.

“The years go fast, I am telling you!” he pointed out and remembered: “I’ve had some great moments in the FIBA Basketball World Cup and I hope that the next one is going to be the best. I was a young kid when I first competed on this stage in 2002, but the experience I’ve gained as a player is priceless. You learn a lot during this kind of competition.”

“The love for my country and my love for basketball” he said describing his feelings and added: “I’m 36 years old now, but my love for the game and to represent my country by playing in the National Team is still very present. I am very excited for the next challenge, which is playing in the next World Cup, to try to have a great run and to try to qualify for the next Olympics. I love this game, and I enjoy every moment of it.”

New Zealand, Greece and Montenegro will be Brazil’s Group F opponents. “This group isn’t going to be easy, the games are going to be very tough to win for each of us, that is for sure” he noted and dived in: “We all know about Greece and the talent and experience they have, with some NBA guys such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of the best players in the world, but we also have to be very focused when we play against Montenegro and New Zealand. Montenegro qualified for the first time and will try to make a good run, and New Zealand play with a lot of intensity, so it’s going to be pretty open for the first two spots of the group.”

The Brazilian Blur doesn’t want to pick out possible foes beyond the first round: “When you compete in a tournament like the World Cup, you’ve got to be prepared and ready for everything, to play against any team, so we’ll just keep the same mindset whoever we will play against.”

Asked about USA, he noted: “It’s the best team in the world and I played with or against a couple of guys that are most likely going to make the final roster, but we will compete and play with high intensity against every team as we want to have a long run in China and try to fight for a medal spot.”

Team USA is among his National Team’s potential opponents in the second round, but Barbosa explained: “We aren’t going to start predicting against which teams we’re going to play against in the next round. We focus on having a great First Round and after this, we’ll take it from there. One thing I’m sure of is that we’re going to play with a lot of pride and a lot of intensity.”

“You have to step up your game; you have to get adjusted to different kinds of basketball as a lot of team play in different ways” he furthered and concluded: “I played in four editions already, and I’m really looking forward to competing in a fifth this summer. I feel the same motivation, the same excitement as my first time.”

Photo Credit: FIBA