The coach will continue his adventure at Olimpia: “For the moment a very positive season, we are in line with our objectives, despite the injuries and the Covid. In Euroleague I would vote for a wild card Virtus. And on the challenge of tomorrow I say that”. ..
Also without lining the last shock against Asvel, with his dirty dozen (in reality they were even less), Ettore Messina catapulted Milan to the second European playoff in a row, this year even on the podium (third) , released for his own merits as well from the fate of the Russians to whose triple exclusion others toasted. The palm here is the Italian derby, tomorrow at Virtus, disfigured by absences. Three at Vu and 7 at Olimpia. To which, however, the coach-manager gives the coveted yes. Ettore will remain in Milan. In the words of Giorgio Armani: “Messina for life, it is perfect for us and for the image of the company” comes the response that effectively validates the signature on the biennial renewal.
The Italian Cup on the scoreboard, second consecutive Euroleague qualifier, second place in the championship. How do you rate Milan’s season so far?
“Very positive because in line with all the objectives we have set ourselves so far. For the second year in a row, we are among the top eight in Europe and this is a result that only big clubs can boast of. I would add that we played three months without Shields, we had two cases of doping and a double round of Covid: the one at Christmas is very strong and the current one is worrying. And let’s put all the troubles of Gigi Datome, a very important player for us “I can see that Real Madrid lost 7 games in the league, Efes had ups and downs and CSKA also suffered setbacks. Moral: the hardness of the Euroleague forces you to pay something. Brescia and Sassari are there. Last insoluble question: the Covid, injuries and 4 games a week require always different quintets, teams and hierarchies. So it’s hard. But that applies to all Euroleague teams.”
These are the facts. On what perhaps does he perceive too much pessimism or little consideration?
“No, I’m calm. We played bad games and we were rightly criticized, but I have to be honest: I feel the square and the fans are with us, I feel support and understanding. continuous growth in these years, the dignity and tenacity in the game and the desire to represent the property in the best way in Italy as in Europe, this is what we have built so far and of which I am proud. we were going to Madrid, Barcelona or Moscow putting the cross there whatever we are already thinking about the next race, now we always play it and when we lose we go home angry We have developed a culture of teamwork at the top A turning point that our audience has perceived. So of course we are in the era of social networks where there are those who, protected by anonymity, spit poison, but I remain indifferent. I hope it is worth also for my players.”
Giorgio Armani said: “Messina would keep him for life”. She postponed all speeches until the end of the season. Are you sure you haven’t already made your decision?
“I received from Mr. Armani a certificate of enormous esteem. The words he spoke after the Italian Cup have an extraordinary weight that makes me feel even more indebted to him. And I have the intention to return this trust to him. Great cycles are thus born, with empathy and awareness of a common and shared path, as well as with victories”.
You have more easily achieved the status of top European club that Olimpia has not had for more than 30 years, compared to an internal supremacy that does not yet exist. Strange, don’t you think?
“It’s not strange at all. Because Serie A remains one of the most competitive leagues and because there is a great team called Virtus Bologna who have a Euroleague team.”
On purpose. Milan are among 13 clubs with permanent licenses that effectively run the Euroleague. If there were to be a wild card to be awarded, would you vote for Virtus?
“Yes, without a doubt, I wouldn’t think about it for half a second and I’m sure I represent the will of our property as well. It would be an important turning point for the whole movement and the rightful recognition of the project and of The investments made by Virtus and its owner. And then…”.
“Well – he laughs – selfishly, I would be very happy if Virtus ended up with the same problems as ours: a very tough season that only the Euroleague-Serie A duo can reserve for you”.
Tomorrow in Bologna the big match against Virtus where you arrive without 6 players. They too have defections. Seen from this angle, what value can it have?
“He has it because we are going to challenge the Italian champions who in turn are facing problems, but have included two top European level players. We are in full emergency, at the moment we are not fighting on equal terms , but we hope to deliver a great show”.
April 9, 2022 (change April 9, 2022 | 4:58 p.m.)
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