It was a summer of changes in Madrid. Firstly, the landing of gloried new president Florentino Pérez, and later coaching legend Ettore Messina arrived to the greatest club in Europe, with eight continental crowns to its credit.
For 2009-10, the white powerhouse has added more depth to the roster: Veteran Argentinian playmaker Pablo Prigioni, signed from TAU Cerámica (now Caja Laboral) will lead the frontcourt while sharing minutes with reigning European 21s champion Sergio Llull, a player that has stepped up in his role. As shooting guards, Rimantas Kaukenas and Louis Bullock will maintain the offensive scouring from the perimeter; the Lithuanian signed from Montepaschi Siena and will bring more game consistency and experience to the team. Bullock, a 33-year veteran, will continue to lead the team on offense as one of the most dangerous players of the capital’s team.
A talented and a high-level experienced player also arrived in summer: Sergi Vidal. After being one of the key role players for Tau Cerámica for a couple of years, the Spaniard has agreed to be part of Messina’s challenge. Vidal, who is 28, reflects the spirit of an skilled hard worker that nowadays isn’t a common basketball product.
The frontcourt is completed by former NBA player Travis Hansen, coming from St. Petersburg (and Vitoria some years before that). The young 2.05-meter star forward out of Serbia, Novica Velickovic comes from Belgrade to bring more potential and bright future to the club. Also, 21-year-old prospect Vladimir Dasic signed: The forward from Montenegro is one of Europe’s sensations.
Axel Hervelle, despite the NBA option, will continue on the team. The Belgian, after six seasons wearing a Real Madrid jersey, has grown in rebounding and defense but has not maximized his scoring numbers.
Finally, the backcourt is completed by Felipe Reyes, the Spanish “Gladiator” and one of the best power forwards in Europe. Reyes’ ability to rebound and run the floor gives strength to the white team.
The addition of Spanish power forward Jorge Garbajosa and Lithuanian center Darjus Lavrinovic completes the team: Both are potential starters for Messina. Jorge is back to Spain after playing overseas in the NBA and finishing his recent Russian adventure with Kimkhi.
It will be interesting to see if Messina is able to lead Real Madrid to its first Euroleague Final Four since Paris 1996. A total sum of 10 players have been signed in a renewed white team. ¿Can Ettore achieve his new challenge?
− written by Alberto Notario, Basket-net.com