Kaunas lives outside of her reality. It seems not to care about being wedged between Russia and Belarus, villains of the 21st century, nor that throughout today it is going to be colonized by nearly 5,000 fans of the Olympiakos, the loudest and most uncontrollable fans on the continent. Its citizens enthusiastically listen to the foreign accent, walk with enviable relaxation and always have a moment to talk about basketball (even the lamps in the hotels are shaped like baskets and the bulbs are shaped like a ball).
A peaceful atmosphere that will disappear when the Euroleague Final Four begins today, which, like every year, has prepared an ambitious and frantic menu, leaving no time for tasting, only for adrenaline and the heart. “Fight for glory”, sums up the organization in its slogans, spread on every corner.
Like a year ago, when it was the whites who prevailed in the semifinals, it is the Barcelona-Real Madrid the one that captures all eyes (even the organizers have to ask that they stop asking questions in Spanish so that the rest of the nationalities can follow the narrative).
The Catalans are the big favourites, a group that has gone from less to more throughout the season and that arrives rested, with an empty infirmary and with uncontrolled ambition after having articulated a squad unparalleled in Europe and having spent 13 years without raise the Euroleague. «We have been coming to the Final Four for three years in a row. We want to be in the final,” the Barça coach said yesterday Saras Jasikevicius, master and lord in his native Kaunas. «I have ten Final Fours as a player and coach. This is the easiest for me: my family is here, the Zalgiris Arena is my home… this helps when it comes to facing a semifinal, “acknowledged the Lithuanian.
The fearsome Real Madrid
Opposite sensations to Madrid, which looks like a ghost, a soul in pain, a demon of the night that has come to Lithuania from the grave to torment mortals. Those present are amazed by the whites and their feat after coming back from the first 2-0 loss in the history of the competition against Partizan of Belgrade. The surprise remains that the whites are one of the four candidates for the title and the Real Madrid DNA has become an object of worship, of study, from which everyone wants to learn.
“We have suffered a lot throughout the season, but that has made us stronger as a group and has brought us here. Now the statistics no longer matter, we have come to compete,” he acknowledged. Chus Mateo in the official presentation of the Final Four, who will not be able to count on Deck (injury) or Yabusele (suspension) for the decisive match. A classic in the abyss, raw and dog-faced. But, yes, with glory as a reward.
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