"For personal reasons I announce this difficult and painful decision but a right one,” Pepe said. "I just want to thank my teammates for all these years we have shared with the national team and all the Argentineans that have shared our happiness and sadness.”
This came out as a real surprise to me as I would have thought most of the players from Golden Generation of Athens 2004 must have been really looking forward to the challenge in Beijing.
Manu GINOBILI, who has been one of his closest friends in the national team, has also express sadness over Pepe’s decision.
"I had hoped Pepe would retire after the Olympics,” GINOBILI said. “Without a doubt it is an enormous loss for the national team and especially for me. Out of all the players from the national team that I have played, the longest has been with Pepe.”
"I understand his decision and I support it, to play in a top team in Europe, like Barcelona, is more complicated than an NBA team. We will miss him a lot."
Pepe started his career playing in the LNB with Deportivo Roca and Estudiantes de Bahía Blanca before pursuing to play college basketball in America.
He made a lot of headlines even before Argentina beat the United States in the semi-finals at the Athens Games because SANCHEZ played college basketball at Temple University for the legendary and now retired coach, John CHANEY.
He then went on to become the first player from Argentina to play in the NBA, first with the Philadelphia 76ers then later on with the Atlanta Hawks & Detroit Pistons.
However he never found much success until he moved to Europe playing for illustrious giants such as Panathinaikos, Unicaja Málaga & now with AXA FC Barcelona.
" I am proud to have had a small part in this group of people that elevated our country to the highest in world basketball," Pepe said.
Not to forget, that with this retirement, Argentina will go to Beijing without any of their point guard from Athens. That side had SANCEZ, and Alejandro MONTECCHIA. His place will most likely go to Tau Ceramica’s Pablo PRIGIONI.
Personally for me, this is great loss for our team as Pepe is often regarded as one of the most unselfish point guards in the game and the one that is always on the looks for another teammate.
We at Mundo Albiceleste will definitely miss him a lot and on behalf of all Albiceleste supporter worldwide, we wish him all the best in his future undertaking.