The final of the Euroleague 2023 is already the most repeated ever: he real Madrid and Olympiacos meet at the top for the fourth time since 1995, in a history of common rivalry that has made them bigger. This final equals another legendary one, thoseMadrid-Varese from the 70s, when they also met four times on the last step on the way to glory.
The whites aspire this afternoon in Kaunas to their eleventh European Cup, king of kings of the list of winners, but two of them were key in the future of merengue basketball and were achieved against the red army of Piraeus. The first, in 1995, after 15 years with nothing to eat, the famous Eighth in Zaragoza with Sabonis and Arlauckas, and Obradovic on the bench (73-61). And the second, in 2015, the ninthwhich put an end to another 20 years of persistent drought after the MVP Nocioni took over the duel out of sheer character and Carroll went into combustion with 11 points in a row, three triples, in the third quarter (78-59).
Madrid thus historically rescued itself twice against the Greek team. Olympiacos, in turn, he had two hits in a row after coming back 17 points to Madrid in London 2013 with 22 from Spanoulis in the second half and with Bartzokas on the bench (100-88). “I don’t like living in the past, it’s not the way to move forward”, explains the coach, recalling that conquest, in which Sloukas and Papanikolaou participated against Llull, El Chacho and Rudy. And then the Viking old guard got even two years later. In between, in 2014, a terrifying five-way playoff, which the meringues took in the fifth round with 50 goals between Llull, Rudy and Reyes. Those who set the hallmarks, as Spanoulis and Printezis did in Piraeus and now Sloukas, Vezenkov, Papanikolaou…
“If you have a group of national players, they know the culture of the club, of the fans, they can better defend the interests of the entity, but also it is evident that there is a lack of production of local players. Even if they are not from the country, you need a group of seven or eight who have been together and then sign each summer”. That is Bartzokas’s recipe to explain the continuity at the top. For Chus Mateo “Chemistry is very important to act as a block, to stay together in hard times. And there is that chemistry in Madrid”.