NEWS | 13/05/2014 | C. TrujilloHe has just celebrated his 7th anniversary with Real Madrid, where he has grown into a star. This is the story of how the player who has been called on to be decisive in the Euroleague Final Four has progressed.
The road has been long for Llull. It has taken him almost all his 26 years to get where he is now. The last seven years of his life have been spent with Real Madrid, but basketball has been part of his life from the very beginning. The son of a player and grandson of a coach, he started to become accustomed to the sound of sneakers squeaking on court early on in his life. While at school he would struggle to finish his lunch in order that he could play with the ball. “I was happy with the ball”, he remembers today.
With passion beyond his years, he worked tirelessly until joining the team of his dreams. While playing with Manresa, his first ACB club, he was told that he was “a bigger Real Madrid fan than Santiago Bernabéu”. Today, as one of Real Madrid's most established players, Llull relives the turning point of the campaign from the top: “Things are going really well for me. I feel like this is my best season so far in terms of my individual performances. I'm happy with how I'm playing and I'm full of confidence. I always give 100%”
71 points in one game
With that winning spirit, Llull began to make a name for himself from a very young age as the cadet player who notched up 71 points in a single game. That match report hangs proudly on his wall at home: “I remember my 71 points and 19 assists well. It was a Cadet League match in Menorca, we were playing at home against the second-placed team in the division and we won".
"It was a tremendous game, one of those when they keep going in. A report went out on the Internet, they called me up as an U-16 and, although I wasn't selected, I joined the Federation and I was signed by Manresa".
"My father was a player, my grandfather was a coach, so it runs in the family. As a kid I started playing basketball and football but I opted for basketball, although I wasn't bad at football. But I loved basketball".
He was so crazy about it that, if there were no baskets, he'd manage to make some. "When we were kids, my brother and I used paper and Sellotape to make baskets and we stuck them to the wardrobe".
Paco Llull, his father, who played as a forward and then chaired Menorca Basket, says that Sergio starting bouncing the ball from a very young age and started to train aged four. After the 71 famous points and his U-16 call-up, the option to join Manresa came up, a club that put a big emphasis on education, something that was very important to his parents, who did not accept a score of less than 70% in any exam.
The first opportunity
With Manresa confirmed as an option, Sergio left home at 15 years of age, a decision that was very difficult for those around him at the time. "I didn't understand anything; I didn't understand why some men wanted to take my brother away", Iván explains.
"It's not easy to have your son leave home at that age. We islanders seem to be particularly closed off in that sense. It was tough but I must say that he has never missed a call: from Madrid, Moscow, Istanbul or wherever", says his father. The decision was taken.