CSKA is the best team in Europe. At least another year

CSKA is the best team in Europe. At least another year

CSKA is the best team in Europe. At least another year

“Maybe have something to remember accurately, but I don’t think I cried after the victory in Vitoria a year ago. Rather cried Itoudis, I was overjoyed. I was very happy that we won, and I was very glad personally for Itoudis. If you go back in 2018, after the defeat of real Madrid in the semi-finals struck such pressure, to withstand which it was not easy. Many then demanded blood, demanded the resignation Itoudis. It was not easy, we then took a break,” recalls his emotions, the President of CSKA Andrey Vatutin.

For more than a year has passed since the Spanish PM, when “soldiers” for the fourth time in the twenty-first century, raised above the heads of the Cup of the Euroleague. That triumph was to some extent unexpected, painful, emotional state. Before the eyes of the still shots that seem to spread all over the world and became the unofficial slogan of CSKA for the season 2019/2020, when Andrey Vatutin, embracing Dimitris Itoudis directly on the floor, screaming Greek coach: “You made me proud, as promised!”

Rights to the video belong to Euroleague Basketball. Watch the video in tWitter-account Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.

The triumph in may 2019 were special for us not only as for the whole organization. Many in the club had accumulated a personal beef with the main tournament of the Old world. But despite a scattering of stellar names and ambitions, Audis managed to collect the car, to get to Vitoria.

Although the road was difficult.

Regular season red and blue finished in 2nd place (24 wins, 6 defeats), losing a little bit powerful Fenerbahce (25 wins, 5 losses). Both personal meetings with the Turks turned out of fire. First “soldiers” to feel the character, “Fener”, which almost repeated scenario of the Berlin Final four, only the home team Obradovic managed to get the victory. CSKA responded symmetrically by winning in Moscow.

Second place, however, derived from CSKA on “the Basque country”. The Spanish had extra motivation in the form of house “Final four” where they really wanted to get. That’s why, when after the second match in Moscow, the series score was 1-1, some fans of CSKA became nervous. Muscovites rarely lose at home, let alone in the playoffs home court advantage is always guaranteed access to the final stage of the tournament. And here they are this advantage has lost.

Two match in Spain was a war. Downtrodden arena in Vitoria — sixth player on the court. And CSKA took two wins on the road. Few people believed. Optimists often just wanted the series returned for the decisive match in the Russian capital. But Itoudis brought from a trip to Xai Xai…! “Basque country” was twice beaten in the hotel.

In the semi-finals we had to beat real Madrid. In the regular season managed to do it twice, but when everything is decided in one match is still quite different. In the second half, when the advantage of “cream” exceeded ten-point line, but time was less and less, it was sad. Really all the powers were given to the exit in the Final four? Is the team really needed to refresh, to change the coaching staff and start anew? No!

8 of 9 three-pointers in all and scored Sergio Rodriguez, Nando De Colo and will I believe Cliburn. The bearded Spaniard has collected in a fist, not only her will but also forced to believe in themselves the rest. Dimitris Itoudis, and a year later paid tribute to Chacho, who even moved to AC Milan, but still remained an important part of that success.

“When real Madrid dominated and broke away in the score, I felt that our team is very well prepared psychologically, together and separately. Knew that CSKA will not give up and retreat until the last moment, will try to take advantage of every opportunity. He played a huge role and the fact that Sergio Rodriguez came off the bench, scored very important points and inspired all to gather strength.

He continued to score points, continued to believe in success. During each timeout, he said that we will win every possession he inspired others,” — said Itoudis.

Victory over real Madrid (95:90) would have been impossible without the x-factor all season — striker Willie Cliburn. His crazy dunk through the huge center of the “real” Walter Tavares has given the team emotions. Cliburn have turned out a lot, but a leg injury forced him to go to the locker room after the final whistle, visibly limping. The finals will put on your feet. The pain did not disappear, but did not play on this day, he could not.

Rights to the video belong to Euroleague Basketball. Watch the video on EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL channel on YouTube.

The main surprise from the final was, perhaps, the opponent of CSKA. Everyone was waiting for the fundamental battle of red and blue and Fenerbahce. But the Turkish semi-final turned out to be stronger “Anadolu Efes” and its star point guard Shane Larkin.

It is reactive, the American has become a major problem Dimitris Itoudis. To solve it in the end, completely failed — Larkin scored 29 points. Fortunately, in the sleeve of the Greek coach of CSKA had two trump — will I believe Cliburn (subsequently recognized as the MVP of the Final four) and Cory Higgins. American players, four hands, scored 40 points (8 three-pointers out of 11).

After the final siren, we saw the emotion real winners. CSKA beat “Anadolu Efes” (91:83).

Rights to the video belong to Euroleague Basketball. Watch the video on EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL channel on YouTube.

The title was so long-awaited that always punctual President of the club for the first time in the club slept.

“Night in vitória after winning – this is the night for which I want to continue to work. It is the emotions that this experience is not for everyone. Thanks to basketball, CSKA, players and coaches that the opportunity I had, and hopefully still will be. That night we celebrated my best! And it was the first time in nearly twenty years of my work in CSKA, when in the morning on departure I was asleep — such was the devastation and so wanted to relax,” admitted a year later Vatutin.

Season 2019/2020 cancelled due to pandemic coronavirus, and it means that CSKA remains the last winner of the tournament and the de facto defending champion and best team in Europe. Officially, since the Euroleague this year the winner to appoint did not, although the leadership of Efes (24-4) on the results of games played 28 rounds of the regular season. A CSKA victory in Vitoria in 2019 was bright and deserved, but hardly anyone would have thought that next may we will be without basketball without the “Final four”, which is traditionally raised a beautiful point in the strongest tournament of the Old world.

CSKA is the best team in Europe. At least another year

CSKA is the best team in Europe. At least another year

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