Poirier, 29, talked to Eurohoops about the 2023-24 roster, focusing on the reunion with Facundo Campazzo.
Boosting the new season by winning the 2023 Supercopa Endesa in Murcia, the French center expressed hope and set the goal of adding more titles until the end of the season.
His interview with Eurohoops also includes an update on his status regarding the French senior national team, after missing the cut for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“It’s great to start with a trophy”
Eurohoops: We are only a few weeks into the season, but you guys already won a title. Is it the best way to start a very challenging season?
Vincent Poirier: It’s always great to start with a trophy. It sets the competitiveness for the rest of the season. And it’s a positive way to start.
EH: We have seen a lot of players leaving the NBA to come to Europe this summer. Why do you think this is happening?
VP: A lot of people in the NBA are thinking about the Euroleague, so it’s getting more and more attractive for players, to play and to be competitive. You can maybe find stability or they want to try something else. They see that Euroleague is great and they can be happy here.
“I’m not scared of anything”
EH: It wasn’t this summer, but one of the players who recently came back from the NBA was Facundo Campazzo. You only played with him for some weeks before he left, but now he has come back. Seeing how things went in Murcia, it kind of felt that time hadn’t passed and everything was like before he left: one of the main players of Real Madrid.
VP: For sure. He is a great player, he always has been. He showed that in the NBA and now he is in Real Madrid. He knows everything since he has been here for years. And he showed that last season too with Crvena Zvezda. Everybody knows him, the way he plays, the talent he has. It’s a good help for us to have him on the team and to be more and more competitive this season.
EH: The Argentinian point guard is the only signing that Real Madrid made this season. Big clubs like yours play a lot of games and seasons can get exhausting and very long. Many players left Real Madrid this summer, are you afraid that this season will be even tougher?
VP: No, because last year we saw that even with three or four players down we were still a really good team, a winning team. We won the Euroleague without two or three players. It’s good, for stability, to keep the same players. We lost four players but we got Campazzo, I think it’s good for the stability of the team. Everything can happen in a season but right now. I’m not scared of anything. We will see who the best team in Europe is.
EH: You are talking about stability and I really wanted to talk about this. One of the things that Real Madrid has been able to do throughout the years is keep the core of great players that have that winning mentality. How important would you say this is in today’s basketball?
VP: We know that the old guys, the two Sergios and Rudy, have been wearing the jersey of Real Madrid for a long time. They know what it means to win. They bring the competitiveness and the winning mentality. That is the most important in a team. They are the base of the team. We all look for them. And it is positive to have a great team every year, keeping the key players.
“I don’t consider myself less of a champion”
EH: We were talking about how tough last season was and you know this very well since you had some injuries that prevented you from playing the last games of the Euroleague. How it was to see your teammates go through those battles without being able to help them?
VP: Nobody will remember in ten years if I played or not. They will only remember that our team won the Euroleague. It’s not just one game, it’s a whole season. If you are injured at the beginning of the season or the end, you are still a champion. Last year, I tried to push my body a little too much and it didn’t work. But I was behind them every game with them, I was always there for them. I don’t consider myself less of a champion because I didn’t play in the Final Four.
EH: The fact that you weren’t able to play that much in the final weeks of the season probably played a role in you being left out of France’s roster for the FIBA World Cup. Things obviously didn’t go well for your country but France will be hosting next year’s Olympic Games. Do you take this season with a little bit of extra motivation to make it to the national team?
VP: First of all, I don’t think my injury had anything to do with whether I was in the team or not. The coach chose to go with another guy who played great last year, that’s it. The Olympic Games? It would be good to be in Paris, but right now I’m not thinking about that. I’m only thinking about the season with Real Madrid, getting as many trophies as we can get, it’s my last year of contract. The Olympic Games can wait, we will see what happens.