Rudy Fernández, a very alive survivor

The last representative of the historic gold in the 2006 World Cup continues adding as captain of Spain


The captain of the Spanish basketball team, Rudy Fernández, faces his fifth World Cup, a figure within the reach of very few, in a career full of successes, such as those of the first star in 2006 and the second in 2019, now being a survivor in the appointment of the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, at 38 years old, but with a vital role and who knows if decisive.

Among the 12 chosen by Sergio Scariolo for the 2023 World Cup, only Rudy remains of the champions in 2006, a legend who makes the transition of Spanish basketball sweeter. The Spaniard participated in the first greatest success of the men’s national orange ball 17 years ago, the World Cup that allowed Spain to stop knocking on the door.

In Saitama, she was shot down by Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Jorge Garbajosa, José Calderón, Felipe Reyes, Carlos Jiménez, Sergio Rodríguez, Carlos Cabezas, Berni Rodríguez, Álex Mumbrú and Rudy Fernández. Finally, a gold for Spanish men’s basketball, after the silver in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and four silvers and two bronzes in Europe.

Rudy, who made his debut with the national team before the 2004 Athens Games, continued adding summers with the national jersey and medals, 11 in total, a record he shares with Pau Gasol. The Spaniard was unable to attend Eurobasket 2017 due to total wear and tear on his body, after 13 consecutive summers with Spain, but then the plenary session followed.

The Real Madrid player has also gone through many injuries, due to recurring back pain, but he is a fixture for Scariolo and it was for Mario Pesquera, Pepu Hernández, Aíto García Reneses and Juan Antonio Orenga. The forward did not even give up last summer, his father recently passed away, to captain a renewed team in the Eurobasket that ended with that eleventh medal.

At 38 years old, the Spaniard is the main exponent of the defense that wins matches and championships, an example of the intensity demanded by the best in the world. Rudy infects the competitive gene that has led Spain to an era of success, as well as the talent in his players. The individual is no longer so important in Scariolo’s team, without figures like the eternal Pau Gasol, but welcoming those who come is a captain present on all glory days.

The man from Palma leads the ranking of ‘thefts’ in the history of the World Cups, with a total of 52 after the one carried out this Saturday in the World Cup debut against the Ivory Coast, an example of his value behind and in the rhythm and superiority he gives in attack to recover a ball. Also, although he is no longer the player who dunked Dwight Howard’s face in the 2008 Olympic final, Rodolfo still has a tough one-on-one and, above all, a fine wrist from the triple.

The captain is a ‘survivor’ in his sense of ‘enduring over time’ and he is so with a leading role. The forward played 251 games for Spain against the African team, almost a hundred more than Víctor Claver (163) and Sergio Llull (158), the other veterans of the national team, and is two away from surpassing the absolute record of Juan Carlos Navarro. Although he has already announced that the 2024 Games – the sixth would be another international basketball record – would give him a nice retirement, Rudy still has goals and may well seize them.