News and opinions
28 August 2012
Olympics return operation in Valle de las Cañas. Real Madrid basketball is cooking and now practically complete. This Tuesday morning, after a two-week rest, Rudy, Llull, Reyes, and Rodriguez joined the preseason activities, as well as Pocius, who also participated in the London Olympic Games. Before setting to work and reporting to Laso, two of the runner-ups appeared at a press conference. Rudy declared: “I’m coming here to try to contribute my experience, my talent, and try to make the team grow more each day.” Llull, for his part, spoke about objectives: “The objective is the same as always: to be up there; to fight, to get to the finals and struggle to win them. Real Madrid has to fight for that.”
The Majorcan wingman, who doesn’t consider himself to be new after spending a few months last year with the white club, feels delighted to wear the white jersey again for three seasons, and he’s eager to start. “I’m happy to be able to come back to Real Madrid, to start with my new team.” Naturally, Rudy, an ambitious player who always sets the bar high for himself, sets out objectives. “Right now, and being on a team like Real Madrid, the objective is to compete against all the teams giving as good as we get. But above all, what’s important is competing for the titles. We have to be up there, that’s the least a team like the one we have can aspire to.” In addition, he has no qualms about recognizing that he likes to play the role of leader: “I’ve come to Europe looking to be a bit of a leader; an important player on the team. I’m coming here to try to contribute my experience, my talent, and try to make the team grow more each day.”
In terms of the team’s configuration and the new recruits, Rudy was very flattering about the two new Americans who recently arrived. “What’s good about this team is that it doesn’t change much. The way the game is played in going to be the same. Knowing Pablo, we will play fast. With Draper and Slaughter I think that we are going to have more experience, and that’s important on a team. The recruits have been minimal. I’m not really new because I was here last year. There are two new faces; I think that they are players who can help us a lot.”
Sergio Llull, the Minorcan point guard who was crowned last year as the best number one of the Endesa League, comes back with high hopes. He has before him a continuing project, something that to him is “exciting.” But in spite of continuing with most of the team from the previous year, Llull also has words for the new guys and for Rudy, who he knows well. “The project continues for another year, with most of the team. I think that it’s exciting. The signing of the two Americans and Rudy too are going to be very good for us, they’re a very good complement on the team. I think that they’re coming with a lot of enthusiasm, with a lot of desire to get in on it as soon as possible, and I think they’re going to help us a lot in the course of the year.”
As always, the Minorcan wanted to make clear the individual objectives he sets for himself and the ones that are set for Real Madrid as a team. “The objective is the same as always: to be up there; to fight, to get to the finals and struggle to win them. Real Madrid has to fight for that. Being on Real Madrid demands and obligates you to be there. In terms of personal challenges, all of them. I’m a very demanding player. I don’t ever resign myself and I’m going to try to continue growing as a player and keep improving and helping the team to win, which is what is important.”
To wind up, Llull wanted to drive away any shadow of suspicion about the information published by a Catalonian sports daily that asserted that he had demanded a higher salary: “The truth is that I read it and it seemed incredible to me. I have said main times that I am happy with Real Madrid, and my intention is to continue here, to finish out my contract. They treat me very well in the club, I’ve been happy since the first day I arrived, and instead of a salary increase I think I should be grateful for the opportunity they gave me and for all the years I've spent here and that I surely will spend."