By Antonis Stroggylakis/info@Eurohoops.net
Real Madrid center and 2023 Final Four MVP Edy Tavares spent almost the entire opening statement on the win of his team over Olympiacos Piraeus in the championship game by lauding the man sitting beside him: Real coach Chus Mateo.
Tavares began by simply saying that his feelings after winning the second EuroLeague title in his career after 2018 are indescribable and then went on to generously shower Mateo with a storm of praise and love.
“The only thing I want to say is to congratulate this man right here with me,” Tavares said. “I think he suffered more than us trying to put all together for us to play together, to fight for this club. I think all the credit is for him. I think every coach and every player in his first year it’s hard to manage. In Madrid, it’s super hard to be the head coach. I want to congratulate him. I think we’re here because of him. We’re here because he believed in us. Because the people on our side didn’t believe in us and in him and that he can do it.”
Mateo was permanently promoted to his current position last July when Pablo Laso, the head coach from 2011 to 2022 and mastermind of the team’s reemergence as a EuroLeague powerhouse, parted ways with the club due to a health problem. From 2014, Mateo was an assistant under Laso.
“He has so much confidence in himself and he has so much confidence in what he can bring to the table and what he can put us through. He deserves it,” Tavares added.
Since even before the end of the EuroLeague regular season, there have been several rumors that Virtus Bologna coach Sergio Scariolo is a candidate to replace Mateo. Over the last couple of weeks, it was reported that the management of the Spanish club has already met with Scariolo to discuss a potential deal while the playoff series vs. Partizan Belgrade wasn’t even over.
Tavares probably also had that in mind when asking people to offer their apologies to his coach.
“I think you guys [media] should apologize to him because there’s a lot of criticism and a lot of doubt on him,” Tavares mentioned. “I always see everybody name a lot of coaches of different teams but nobody mentioned him but always mentioned Madrid. He’s the boss so you got to mention him and Madrid every time. All the credit is for him because without him we wouldn’t be here.”
At that moment, Mateo became emotional and touched his player’s arm while being unable to hold back tears.
“He was the one who believed in us from August until now,” Tavares said. “He deserves this more than anybody. He’s one of the best people I’ve met in my life. All the credit to him. You guys should give him the credit. In Madrid, it’s super hard to win. We have too many Alphas on the team and you have to manage everybody. He deserves everything.”
Incredible scenes in the press conference: Real Madrid coach Chus Mateo broke into tears hearing the praise of Final Four MVP Edy Tavares for him.
"You guys should apologize to him. Lots of criticism, doubt…
He deserves this more than anybody. One of the best people I met" pic.twitter.com/snhvQOTKPR
— Antonis Stroggylakis (@AStroggylakis) May 21, 2023