"If you live in the past, you cannot live anything new. Basically, I don’t live in the past." Olympiacos Piraeus head coach Georgios Bartzokas said when asked about the first time he faced Real Madrid in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game. It was May 2013 and Bartzokas remembers it well.
"I have great memories from this final because we won the title and it was a kind of dominating basketball in the semifinals against CSKA and against Real Madrid in the final for three quarters because we were losing by a 17-18-point difference and finally we made 90 points in three quarters," Bartzokas recalled during the Saturday afternoon press conference looking ahead to the 2023 title bout between the same teams.
"I cannot say that I am feeling it's destiny. I cannot say that. Basketball changes every day," he continued. "Nowadays it is completely different. If you see a game from 2013 and a game of the same level in 2023, you will realize easily that basketball changes every day…
"We are 10 years older and we are kind of different persons. I want to really enjoy the momentum, the timing, this big battle against such a great club like Real Madrid."
Bartzokas is one of six protagonists from that 2013 game who will compete for the 2023 crown. With Bartzokas are Kostas Sloukas and Kostas Pananikolaou. For Real Madrid, Sergio Llull, Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez are with the team.
Because of that, Bartzokas stressed that "we are talking about completely different situations, completely different teams."
"We are talking about big clubs in European basketball. Everyone knows what Real and Olympiacos mean. It going to be a "battle" but in athletic terms. I have a lot of respect for Chus Mateo and for Real Madrid, but we have faith in our work and our effort all season and it will be very interesting to see what happens tomorrow."