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Ricky Rubio to miss FIBA World Cup during break from basketball

Ricky Rubio

GUANGZHOU, CHINA - AUGUST 31: #9 Ricky Rubio of Spain in action during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, first round match between Spain and Tunisia at Guangzhou Gymnasium on August 31, 2019 in Guangzhou, China. (Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images)

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Ricky Rubio, the 2019 FIBA World Cup MVP for Spain, will miss this summer’s World Cup as he takes a mental health break from professional basketball.

The Spanish Basketball Federation published a statement from Rubio on Saturday, three weeks before the start of the World Cup co-hosted by Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.

A federation spokesperson later said that Rubio will not be on the 12-man roster when it is named later this month.

Rubio, a 32-year-old point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, played at the last three World Cups and three of the last four Olympics, earning a global medal of every color.

Rubio was MVP of the 2019 World Cup as Spain beat Argentina in the final.

At the Tokyo Games, Spain lost to the U.S. 95-81 in the quarterfinals. Rubio scored 38 points, the most ever by a single man against the Americans in Olympic play.

He finished the tournament as the leading scorer at 25.5 points per game, the highest average for any man since Brazilian Oscar Schmidt at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Rubio was Spain’s young phenom in its golden era, joining veterans Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon, Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez as La Roja became the chief rival to the U.S. in the late 2000s.

All have retired from the national team except Rubio and Fernandez, a 38-year-old who has been on every Olympic and World Cup roster dating to 2004.

After winning last September’s European title, Spain became the first men’s team other than the U.S. to be ranked No. 1 in the world since 2010.