The Olimpia winger starring against Barcelona: “I’m fine, Milan this year is more physical and has more brains, but the road is full of pitfalls. I don’t regret the no to blue in the summer, I couldn’t do it … “
At his debut in the championship at the end of September, after the match in Naples, the Milan coach Ettore Messina said it clearly: “I’m happy with Datome’s performance, he is important to us because he can make us raise the percentages”. Well, after Thursday night’s test in the Euroleague against Barcelona at the Forum, it can be said that the national team is back as the decisive player we have always known. Top scorer, clear mvp of the evening, heavy points when it mattered.
What did this return to … the past mean?
“I am very balanced: speaking of the team, I realize that it was a good evening. But we are only at the beginning, and in a while no one will ever remember who was first in November. There is a lot of work to do to get the best out of the warm months. Personally I am happy, but self-confidence has never been lacking. At this moment in my career, on the threshold of 34 years, I just have to think about being physically well. If I am well, as a result Ettore makes me play more, and if I play more things on the pitch I do them as I always have. The important thing is to train and work well. I’m finding continuity and everything comes as a consequence “.
What is the difference between the current Olimpia and that of the past months?
“They are two different teams. If we mean the final of the Serie A championship, it is impossible to make comparisons with today because they are two different moments of the season. For sure, this year we are more physical. The addition of Melli gave us even greater “iq” (intelligence quotient, ed) which adds to the already high iq that was there before. We are in good form as a team, but we need to stay calm. Not forgetting that in the Euroleague we played six out of eight games at home. The road is very long and full of pitfalls, but we are ready to face all the challenges with maximum concentration “.
Italy? I have no remorse, I am at peace with myself. If I said no it’s because I just couldn’t do it
National: his “no” last summer made people argue and angry …
“I’m really talking about it for the last time. It is not a struggle to explain it, because it is very simple. Last summer I wasn’t feeling well, for me and the team the best thing to do was to stop, and so I made that decision ”.
“No, I’m at peace with myself. And seeing that the boys qualified for the Olympics it means that it was the right choice. If someone hasn’t understood I’m sorry, but I’ve always made choices with my hand on my conscience. This is even more so because it was a huge sacrifice, for the first time after almost twenty years in the blue jersey at all levels I said no. And if I said no, it’s because I just couldn’t do it “.
The president of the Fip Petrucci was very angry.
“What I had to say I told him in person. We greeted each other with affection in Naples, we have known each other for too many years. I will go on as always and I will continue to make the choices that I think are right for me and the team, even more so if it is a national team “.
It seems therefore that this is not a closed chapter.
“In fact it is not, I am always available, it will be Sacchetti who will make the choices he deems right”.
Do you still feel like the captain of Italy?
“Absolutely. At the same time I was pleased that it was Nicolò who replaced me in the role, absolutely right. As long as I am useful I know they will call me, when I am no longer useful it will be right to stay at home. And as long as I can be useful, I will always be available ”.
It would therefore be great for her to play the European Championship at home in Milan.
“Yes, that would be really great, I’d love to be part of that team. Among other things, a European at home is not only a super sporting event, but an extraordinary manifesto for our movement ”.
Serie A: what league is it?
“Not leveled down for sure, we and Virtus have moved up a level further, but winning is always difficult on any pitch. There is widespread talent and then the home factor begins to make itself felt again ”.
Let’s go back to Europe: his former coach Obradovic is increasingly unleashed on the bench …
“He is like that, he took this challenge against Partizan in a total way, he could go anywhere but he made a courageous and not trivial choice, almost from the heart. He wants to bring Partizan to a high level, I wish him the best “.
Who is the strongest team in the Euroleague? He has only one chance.
“Real Madrid. Potentially also Efes but this year it is not turning yet. Olympiacos are super but they don’t seem to me to be the strongest of all ”.
What does Datome ask of this season?
“To continue to be an important player in a team that is stabilizing among the most important in Europe. The target? Finish better than last year “.
To close, Covid has also stopped the GGG charity event with its friends Paltrinieri and Tamberi at the Fantini Club in Cervia: will you do it again?
“Of course, we are deciding the dates, in 2022 we will certainly do it!”.
November 5, 2021 (change November 6, 2021 | 15:30)
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Datome’s cry: “Italy, I’m still here. And I dream of the European at home ”