If we tell you a first for a French club, the tears of its flagship player, the fans in ecstasy, Italian club opposite, 1993… I am, I am, I am? The Olympique de Marseille, of course. Patatras, trapped. It was the CSP Limoges. How to forget Richard Dacoury and his family lift the European Cup of Champions Clubs after beating Benetton Treviso (59-55). Ah, the thrills, the good weather, France winning. Except that, since this holy year, as for football, it is the black hole for our French clubs in the most prestigious competition of the Old Continent. Bis repetita this season? Well no !
Well, come on, we may be living in the world of Care Bears, but with Villeurbanne and Monaco present in the Euroleague this year, France again has a chance to go far in Europe. The quarter-finals? The Final 4? The title ? “The Final 4 is very ambitious, but possible, will not succeed in barrier, it will be necessary that all the conditions are met, hopes Angelo Tsagarakis, former player passed in particular by Paris-Levallois or Bourg-en-Bresse. Out of two very well supplied staff. The top 8 should be an achievable goal, especially for Monaco. “
Monaco absolutely must qualify for the top 8
Yes, because the principality’s club has built an XXL squad, and we are not just talking about the size of the players, for its first participation in the Euroleague, acquired thanks to a victory in the Eurocup last season. “They are a rookie in the competition, without a rookie workforce, with players familiar with Euroleague matches, and even more, like the American Mike James [top 3 des scoreurs de l’Euroligue depuis trois ans, passé par les Brooklyn Nets l’année dernière], resumes Tsagarakis. There are youth, internationals, excitement, barbecues in the racket, collective players like Motum or Diallo, it can do it. “
Strong points… pic.twitter.com/N5b0rLw21M
– Turkish Airlines EuroLeague (@EuroLeague) September 30, 2021
Above all, unlike Asvel, which is a permanent member, Monaco must finish in the top 8 to secure its place in the Euroleague. Enough to put you under good pressure before the start of the season. Crossed during the presentation of the Betclic Elite, mid-September, Yakuba Ouattara, the back of the Roca Team, rather looked very detached: “We have no objective of definition. The goal is to win as many matches as possible. “We obviously did not stop at this response worthy of the finest positions taken by Raphaël Varane. Come on, Yakuba, really?
Aaaaaaaaah. We are competitors so what we want is to stay in the Euroleague. In view of the club’s ambitions, the names on paper and the competitiveness of the players, we definitely want to go as far as possible. “
“Mitrovic will slap them”
In any case, it started well. Like Villeurbanne, Monaco won their first match against Panathinaikos (75-63), without trembling. “But we must remain measured, it is no longer the great Pana, tempers Angelo Tsagarakis. Against a real strong team [match face au Real le 13 octobre], it will be more revealing. “It also reveals the team’s state of mind in the face of adversity. Because, with the James, Motiejunas, Ouattara, Westermann, Hall and co, it can fight at the ego level when it comes to taking the decisive shots.
“Each match, the hero may be different, it will be necessary that everyone remains aligned with the collective, will resume the Franco-Greek. But I don’t worry, car Zvezdan Mitrovic [l’entraîneur] slap them otherwise. Monaco still has guarantees, fewer questions than Asvel, for example, which has made a lot of bets. “
Because after the departures of four major players (Heurtel, Yabusele, Cole, Fall), the club from the Lyon suburbs, faithful to its credo of developing the best French hopes, recorded very good players (Okobo, Antetokounmpo, Gist, Wembanyama …), But which do not necessarily have the references of their predecessors. “We are not ready to face the best teams in the Euroleague in important matches, recognized the young French promise just before the start of the season. But this team is promising. We will see a rise in power during the year. There is potential. “
Do better than the past seasons
“The Asvel is in a positive development, notes Angelo Tsagarakis. Something has been created, even if there was a big turnover in the offseason. There are senior players like Lighty, Diot or Lacombe who have stayed and are guarantors of the Asvel project. TJ Parker, too, is the guarantor of this spirit and shows that he is not there only because he is the brother of the boss. Quinz in the standings in 2019-2020, at the time of the interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Rhone team set off with a sound last season. Still far from places for the play-offs.
“In the Euroleague, it’s always complicated, admits the experienced Mike James. Even when you are considered a big team, clubs surprise you and hang on until the play-offs. I hope we will be that team. “Among the 18 teams playing in the Euroleague, it is still difficult to see a place among the 8 escaping Real, Barça, CSKA, Anadolu Efes Spor Kulübü or Milan. There are therefore three places left. Including two for French clubs. Come on, we stand the bet.