De Gea's tribute to basketball star
David de Gea has become an inspirational figure for Manchester United and football fans alike over the last decade.
One can only imagine how many times his famous stops against the likes of Everton, Arsenal and Sevilla have been attempted in back gardens and on park pitches across the world. Our no.1 is an idol to many.
But one thing that is often wondered about professional footballers is who their main inspirations are.
And like many of us at the moment, the Spaniard has been closely following the ongoing 2020 Olympics in Tokyo while preparing for the new campaign with United, reaching out to his nation’s representatives across events in sailing, athletics and gymnastics, among others.
More recently, he has also tapped into his affection for basketball while watching the games to bid a happy international retirement to Spanish star Pau Gasol.
Gasol, who won back-to-back NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010, now plays for FC Barcelona’s team on the court and bid farewell to representing his nation, alongside his brother Marc, following Spain's defeat to the United States in the quarter-finals of the men's basketball tournament in Japan on Tuesday.
Taking to his official social media platforms, De Gea paid tribute to one of the sport's greatest ever players to hail from his home nation.
He wrote in Spanish: “Thanks a lot @paugasol for your basketball, for your attitude, for your example, for the years of glory and for your legacy. #Legend.”
Our goalkeeper, who returned to pre-season training this week as the Reds made the trip up to Scotland for a training camp, has previously displayed his affection for basketball.
In an interview with Inside United earlier this season, David spoke about how he played the sport, among several others, when he was growing up.
“I’ve always liked a lot of sports in general,” De Gea told the club’s official magazine.
"I played tennis a lot as a kid and I really enjoyed it. I used to have lessons.
“I also played a lot of basketball at school. I think ultimately it was always about sports. I was a bit hyperactive and I always liked playing sports with my friends so mostly it would have been sports.
“On the odd occasion, maybe in summer, I’ll play tennis or padel, but without overdoing it because you need to be careful.”
With the squad currently based in St Andrews this week, one wonders if De Gea might get out on the links and look to add another sport to his repertoire in his down time – putting allowed only, obviously, David!