Chus Mateo has a contract with Real Madrid until June 30, 2024 and will be the coach of the white team, at least until that date. «I am happy for Chus Mateo because I think he has had a difficult year and I think he has been unfair. Now we are giving him the recognition of a great coach because from now on he is already a great coach, that no one has any doubt, “said Florentino Pérez at the Zalgirio Arena after winning the Eleventh.
It was the confirmation of a charge that for a good part of the season was answered even from within the section itself. For this reason, at the joint press conference offered by two of the title heroes in Kaunas, Chus Mateo himself and Edy Tavares, the center vindicated his coach. «Chus deserves this, of course he deserves it. You should apologize to him because there has been a lot of criticism and doubt around him. I always see that everyone names coaches from different teams, but no one mentions him, Real Madrid is always mentioned. He’s the boss, so you always have to mention him. He deserves all the credit because without him we wouldn’t be here. It was he who believed in us from August until now. He deserves this more than anyone. He is one of the best people I have ever met in my life. You should give him all the credit. At Real Madrid it is super difficult to win. We have a lot of alpha males on the team and you have to manage everyone,” Tavares said. And Chus Mateo, who was restrained in the celebration on the track, could not avoid tears.
The doubts that multiplied after the elimination in the Cup semifinals against Unicaja have evaporated in the last three weeks. The management of the limit situation against Partizán and the two games of the Final Four have turned a noted coach into a top manager. From within, what is valued the most is that the best version of Chus Mateo has arrived in the most complicated scenario possible. The 0-2 in the quarterfinals, the fight in the second game, the sanctions, the injuries… Chus Mateo has found the key to the team and has defined the roles in the group when it has had less troops or when those troops, and the case of Sergio Rodríguez, Hezonja, Causeur or Randolph are the most obvious, they arrived after a very complicated course.
The coach has been more aware than anyone of the criticism. «There are many people who think that he has less baggage, although it is in his right. I assume criticism and doubts, it’s my job. I have tried to stay focused. I know that you are under the magnifying glass, but I do not try to pay much attention and when something bad has happened the group has become more and more united, “says the coach.
The surgical measures that he has implemented have been full of successes. Injuries (Deck, Poirier and Alocén) and Yabusele’s five-game ban reduced rotations. Cornelie and Abalde became residual players and with eleven troops they managed to solve the Partizan issue and knock down Barcelona and Olympiacos. Chus Mateo has re-educated Hezonja and Musa. The Croatian had never been so focused and contributing to so many facets of the game and he is showing the Bosnian the way to learn to be important without having to score 20 points. Ndiaye was invented as a defender of Leday, Mirotic and Vezenkov with success and zone defenses have been the great tactical success. They dislodged Partizán, Barça and Olympiacos and served as a protection element for two of the key players, Edy Tavares and Sergio Rodríguez. The weight of the pivot in the team was more than proven. Giving yourself over to Chacho, Llull and Rudy has been an exemplary handling of the dressing room and egos.
The best summary of the Real Madrid season was noted by Causeur: “Many people thought that we were old, that the coach was worthless and in the end we won the Euroleague.” As it is.