Basketball: Double NBA champion Pau Gasol 'coming home' to Barcelona

Gasol (above) won two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and was selected six times for the NBA All-Star team. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID (AFP) - Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol will make an emotional return to Barcelona 20 years after leaving, the player and club announced on Tuesday (Feb 23).

The 40-year-old Gasol will re-join Barca, where he began his career, until the end of the season.

"Pau Gasol returns to Barca. And will stay there until June 30, 2021," the Catalan club said.

"I am very happy to announce that I am coming home and that I will join the ranks of FC Barcelona basketball soon," added Gasol on Twitter.

"I want to use my qualities and my experience to help the club at a key moment of the season."

Gasol is widely considered to be the best Spanish player in history.

After leaving Barcelona aged 20, he won two NBA championships, both with the Los Angeles Lakers, and was selected six times for the NBA All-Star team.

He also played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks.

Gasol has said he wants to compete at what would be his fifth Olympic Games this year in Tokyo.

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