By Cesare Milanti / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bologna, Italy – After 15 years, Virtus Bologna is ready to come back to the EuroLeague, reaching Milan and giving Italian basketball two teams on the biggest European stage. When Virtus played the last EuroLeague season before 2022, Marco Belinelli was living his first NBA experience with the Golden State Warriors.
Now, he’s the club veteran, and he wants to prove himself again in the Olympus of European basketball for the first time since 2007 when he was still a Fortitudo Bologna player.
“We are ready and we really want to return to play in the Euroleague. I personally, but also Virtus as a club that has not played in this competition for a long time. There is a great desire to do well. We are at the beginning, so we will try to understand what team we can be but obviously, we can do well. We need to improve day by day and grow as a team, trying to create a united and familiar group”, he said in his media day interview with Eurohoops.
Kyle Hines, who is probably the best EuroLeague veteran that he’s currently playing in the Italian league, said that this is likely to be the most competitive Euroleague ever, with no easy nights and considering that all the teams have great players.
Marco Belinelli couldn’t do anything but agree with that. “Kyle is definitely right. All the matches will be important, especially at home but also on the road, in the sense that the level is very high, there will be very strong teams”, he said.
And about which teams he believes will be the hardest to face, he has some names in mind: “Definitely Barcelona, Efes, and Fenerbahce on all, not forgetting Olympiacos. There are many, they are all strong teams. We should come in with the right mindset on both offense and defense to help each other”.
Bologna has always been considered “Basket City” in Italy, the place where basketball is in the heart and soul of the vast majority of the people.
Marco Belinelli thinks this is still the case and that makes the return of the club to the EuroLeague even more unique: “We have unique fans, who will be heard. It will be nice to play at PalaDozza first and then at Virtus Segafredo Arena. We need them, we will definitely try to do ours. Having a EuroLeague team after so many years is something to be proud of, not only for us as a club, but also for the city of Bologna”.