NEWS STORY. 16/05/2022
Pablo Laso spoke to Realmadrid TV ahead of the Final Four which will begin in Belgrade on 19 May. “It’s incredible to reach the Final Four. Maybe people don't appreciate the work that had to be done to get us here. I'm proud to be playing the seventh one in ten years, it's the best thing that speaks volumes about the team over time. Every year has its own difficulties, but it's always tough. The significance of reaching another Final Four is that you understand the work you had to put in to get there”.
“After the win against Manchester City some of the players said the fans deserved it because of the pandemic. That’s what we say too. It’s a prize for all madridistas to be able to show that Real Madrid are still at the top of European basketball. This is a great achievement that’s always difficult to do”.
A competitive team
“There are only two players left from the core of the team that won the Final Four in Madrid. Many of them are going to play for the first time and you have to take your hat off to them because of how they've adapted, the way they know what the demands of this club are and how far we want to go. This speaks well of all of us. Teams change, players get older, they gain experience. We’re proud that the team remains competitive, regardless of present or past form”.
Message to the players
“That' s been the same since day one. We must show respect, firstly to ourselves and to our club, if not, we will be nothing. And also respect for our opponents. After that, we're going to fight in every game. We can play better or worse, but everything else will only be an excuse if we don't give one hundred per cent. Winning and losing is part and parcel of sport, but from day one we’ve got to be able to convey to our fans that our team’s going to give everything. What’s most important is that our team is recognisable and recognised. I tell the boys this message from day one and that doesn't change”.
“There’re four title-winning teams going to the Final Four. Olympiacos have been a recognisable and successful team in the last decade, Efes are the reigning champions, Barcelona have been the best in the regular season and Real Madrid are traditionally a winning team. It's a great Final Four and we have a Clasico in the semi-finals. For me, it's a final, if you lose you're out. I expect a top performance from Real Madrid”.
The players’ motivation levels
“The task of motivating is sometimes complicated and sometimes simple at the same time. When a player plays the Final Four he is going to give it his all, and if he doesn't, he doesn't deserve to play it. That's why the top players and teams are there, because they’ve had to work all year long to get there. As a coach it's easier, you know that they are going to give everything. We stress that it's a special moment, but individual motivation is hugely important. We try to enhance it because we know that it's also a game from the heart, it's a final”.
Madrid and the European Cup
“In 2018 the football team were champions and so were we. I don't think that has ever happened to any club before. That's Real Madrid and that's what we play for. The fact that the football and basketball teams are in the European finals should be a source of pride for all madridistas. It's down to heart, work and effort. Carlo Ancelotti and his team have done an outstanding job, the players have been great and they’re in the European Cup final. I share the same feeling with my team because we’re in a European final and this speaks unbelievably of the work of the club. This shouldn’t be normal, it’s an enormous feeling of pride. We all want to win and I hope we can do it again”.
“I want to thank you, we wouldn't be in this position without you. We need you, we love you and you’re absolutely right to give us hell when we win and when we lose because you’re part of our DNA. I know that you enjoy our victories enormously and have no doubt that we’re going to give one hundred percent to become European champions again”.