By Santiago Carbone |
Montevideo (EFE).- International 116 times with the light blue and the only Uruguayan to play in the NBA, Esteban Batista knows that he gave his all for the shirt that gave him “the most emotions” throughout his career.
At 39 years old and after 20 playing for the national team, the center announced days ago that he would stop doing it and last Sunday he said goodbye in a match against Mexico for the qualification for the next World Cup.
“I am leaving empty because I feel and know that I gave everything for Uruguay,” he assured in an interview with Agencia EFE, in which he stressed that he is proud to have done what -from his point of view- any Uruguayan would have wanted: “Defend in any sport to the selection of his country”.
dreams and emotions
A professional since 2001, Batista managed to win the bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Games, while he was second and third in the South American basketball games between 2003 and 2016.
Despite this, at a time when he claims to be very moved by what he has experienced in recent days, the athlete does not hide that he feels “a little sad” for not having fulfilled his dream of playing in the World Cup or the Olympic Games.
“It was the dream I always had, since I started 20 years ago. But the truth is that I was happy defending the shirt of my country. It was the shirt that gave me the most emotions throughout my career, ”he says.
In accordance with this, Batista emphasizes that entering the field and listening to the national anthem made his skin crawl for two decades and adds that this was “reason enough” to try to be in order at every opportunity.
The near future of Batista
Now, knowing that he will no longer enter the game box with the Uruguay shirt on and at a time when he is not optimistic about continuing to play for a team, the athlete says that he will be delighted to help when the Uruguayan Federation of Basketball (FUBB) understand it pertinent.
“If one day they need me and if they want me to lend a hand, I’m delighted, because I always did it,” explains Batista.
Asked about what must change so that Uruguay can reach a World Cup – an appointment he has not attended since Spain 1986 – the player maintains that the team must sometimes face circumstances that rarely allow him to face matches with his squad in optimal conditions.
Likewise, he maintains that players like Agustín Ubal (Surne Bilbao Basket), Santiago Vescovi (Tennessee Volunteers) and Joaquín Rodríguez (Obras Sanitarias) are the ones who set out to lead the new generation.
“Hopefully new promises will emerge to form a great team from the beginning”, emphasizes Batista, who points out that the work and effort of each one of the players will determine how far they can go.
During the interview, the Uruguayan also talks about his future as a player and highlights that he is not optimistic about the possibility of continuing to defend a team.
“I am experiencing many emotions, I am trying to enjoy. I feel enormous happiness for the expressions of affection from the people, ”says Batista about the way in which the public recognized his work with the national team these days.
He adds: “When all this happens I will think better of it, but today I am empty and I am not very optimistic.”
Thus, the player who signed for the Atlanta Hawks in 2005 and who also defended teams like Real Madrid, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Panathinaikos, in a career that took him through Argentina, China, Spain, Greece, Italy, Israel, Russia and Turkey, warns that the withdrawal could be very close.
He does so knowing that he gave up everything for his team and emphasizing that the most important legacy he intends to leave is that those who played with him remember him “as a good teammate.”