France expels Heurtel from the basketball team for signing for the Russian Zenit | Sports

The French basketball federation has expelled Thomas Heurtel (33 years old, Béziers, France) of the national team to sign with Zenit St. Petersburg after having declared that he would not sign for any Russian team. The former Real Madrid and Barcelona player played his last match with France in the Eurobasket final, in which he starred in the last action of the match, with a desperate three-pointer with 26 seconds to go. The ball bounced off the rim, Xabi López-Arótegui caught the rebound, and Spain kissed the gold medal. Heurtel, who had been one of the French team’s greatest threats, adding 16 points and 7 assists, with an unblemished five of five shooting from two, closes his stage with his national team after violating an affidavit that he would not sign for any team from Russia or Belarus.

As soon as the concentration begins for the eurobasketball, the French federation made all the players in the squad sign an affidavit that they would not sign for Russian or Belarusian teams as an act of rejection of the invasion of Ukraine. Heurtel, who had finished his contract with Real Madrid at the end of last season, signed the document despite the fact that, according to various French media, at that time he had already begun to negotiate his arrival at Zenit.

This Wednesday, the club made the signing of the French point guard official for next season plus another optional one, and the French federation was quick to confirm his expulsion from the national team: “The player (Heurtel) had signed the affidavit at the beginning of the concentration, indicating that he was not committed and that he did not plan to sign for a Russian or Belarusian club, ”says the FFBB statement published this Thursday on social networks. “If Thomas Heurtel plays for Zenit, this commitment would not be respected and the point guard would no longer be meeting the selection criteria for the next international events, including the 2024 Olympics ″, he concludes. Heurtel, who averaged 10.4 points and 7.1 assists in the last Eurobasket, ends his time in the national team after 111 games in which he won four medals: gold in the 2013 Eurobasket, silver in the 2020 Olympics, in addition to that of the latter European, and a bronze in the 2014 World Cup.

His departure from the national team occurs in the same way that the point guard has finished his last professional experiences. His arrival at Real Madrid from Barcelona was already eventful. The base had permission from the Blaugrana club to negotiate with a new one at Christmas 2020, but after discovering his intention to sign for Real Madrid, they stopped all operations and left the player out for the rest of the season. The case was resolved with the termination of the contract on the condition that he not sign for any ACB team that season.

On July 6, 2021, his arrival at the white team became official, in which he aspired to become the director of the game. Nothing could be further from the truth. Heurtel did not perform as expected, and with the team going through a terrible run of results, he went out partying before a Euroleague game in Athens against Panathinaikos. Pablo Laso made the decision to remove him from the team with Trey Thompkins and he only stepped on the pitch again in the ACB semi-finals against Baskonia after 17 games away from the team. The player apologized at the end of the season and confirm his departure from the white club. “I destroyed what I was trying to build with a great club like Real Madrid,” he declared in an interview on L´Equipe.

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