Real Madrid won the European Cup for the eleventh time in its history on 21 May 2023. The victory came after an epic win over Olympiacos with a memorable basket by Llull with 3.1 seconds to go. Our team celebrated the triumph in Kaunas and continue to add to the legend of this club, the Kings of Europe.
La Undécima will hold a special place in our team's history due to the manner in which it was won. It was the Euroleague that embodied all the values that Real Madrid represents, never giving up believing, giving it all until the end, belief, and impossible comebacks. During a very tough season marked by constant injuries, several of them long-term, and other complicated situations, Chus Mateo's team managed to rise above it all and pulled off another heroic feat without parallel in European basketball.
They turned around a 0-2 deficit in the playoffs against Partizan in an incredible tie. No team had ever managed to turn around such a situation. But if any team is capable, it's Real Madrid. Going to the complicated court in Belgrade, winning the third and fourth games and returning to the WiZink Center. The serious injury to Deck, who joined the absences of Poirier and Yabusele, took its toll. Things took a further turn for the worse in the fifth game, when in the 23rd minute we were trailing by 18 points. It was then that the Madrid heroics began to unfold. Sergio Rodríguez led the heroic comeback to qualify for the Final Four for the ninth time in the last 12 years.
One of the epicentres of basketball in Europe, the Lithuanian city of Kaunas awaited Real Madrid. We beat Barça in the semi-finals for the second year in a row. We also came from behind with a great second half, spearheaded by a tremendous Tavares and a decisive Sergio Rodríguez in the final quarter (66-78). The hardest part was yet to come, however. Olympiacos were waiting in the final. The Greeks topped the regular season and the Zalgirio Arena was painted in red. We were trailing by 12 points in the first quarter and by seven with five minutes to go, but the team performed the miracle again. With eight points almost in a row, Sergio Rodríguez inspired us to dream and Llull made it happen with a magical basket past the giant Fall with 3.1 seconds to go (78-79). It was an unforgettable weekend during which the junior team also won its fourth Euroleague title in this age category.
Video.78-79: Madrid clinches the Undécima thanks to a magical basket from Llull
Tavares, Final Four MVP
The centre was named the best player in Europe in Kaunas following a stunning weekend in which he averaged 11.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 29.5 PIR. Tavares recorded two double-doubles. Against Barça, he scored 20 points, 15 rebounds and 39 PIR in 33:10 minutes. Then, in the final against Olympiacos, he racked up 13 points, 10 rebounds and 20 PIR in 34:56 minutes. The Cape Verde native added this award to that of best defender in the Euroleague and part of the best team of the competition, which also included his team-mate Musa.
After collecting the trophy, Tavares outlined the main reasons for the victory: "This is Real Madrid. We never give up and we always fight until the end. Real Madrid's heart is what gave us confidence. We don't give up. We fight for these moments, this feeling that can't be explained. This is incredible".
Video.Tavares, MVP in the Final Four: "This is Real Madrid"
Real Madrid celebrated the win on the court at the Zalgirio Arena. The party then carried on into the locker room, where Florentino Pérez congratulated the champions and there was the now customary selfie with Llull. The president had some special words of praise for the team coached by Chus Mateo: "We deserved this Euroleague because we believed until the end. This victory came from faith, from conviction, from unity, from the fact that everyone is united and fights until the end to achieve things". Two days later, there was a visit to the City Hall and the Community of Madrid, to present La Undécima to all the madridistas. The Euroleague celebrations came to an end with a visit to the Zarzuela Palace to be welcomed by King Felipe VI.