Belinelli: “Virtus da bis Scudetto, but the first goal is …”

Serie A restarts and the new captain of the reigning champions sets the priorities: “We want to grow further”

The NBA is far away. Marco Belinelli spent 13 years there, but now the league of which he remains proudly the only Italian player to have won the ring is to play occasional games at Nba2k22, the video game in which he once enjoyed using his alter ego and where he now chooses matches between Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Kobe Bryant’s Lakers. “I’m much more focused on what I’m doing: the Italian championship, the Eurocup”.

“And I watch many Euroleague games, a very important goal for me and for Virtus”. Since returning in November, he has won the Scudetto and on Tuesday raised his first trophy as a captain, the Super Cup. Won against Milan, great opponent of the new season.

“Being captain is an honor, a role that I will try to play the best – says Beli -. I am willing to be an example for young people, I want to help my teammates trying to be a silent leader and show my passion and my desire to win “. At 35, Belinelli is the veteran of Sergio Scariolo’s new roster. “We have grown a lot since the coach arrived, even at the company level: we want to do things well”. The Spain coach is not the only news: “With Nico Mannion (we will have to wait a few more weeks to see him on the pitch, ed) I spoke for the first time when he arrived in Bologna: he seems to me a boy aware of the fact that he will have many responsibility with Virtus, who will have to prepare well to always play to the maximum. It will be important this season ”. However, Belinelli already had two columns of the new Virtus at home. “I love Pajola – says Belinelli of the 21-year-old Supercoppa mvp -. He is a player who speaks little, but does a lot on the pitch. He defends like I have never seen anyone do, for me he will be the one who will give us so much fire to have an important season. And I am super happy to play with Teodosic: our relationship has also grown a lot and we are super friends ”.

Virtus sets out to win as much as possible. “Talented signings have been made, young people who want to win. The best thing would be to win everything, both personally and for the club – says the new captain -. In the first place, however, I put the qualification for the Euroleague, facing teams of the highest level. We had a taste of it during the preparation, in the Munich tournament: it helped us a lot. The Scudetto clearly remains an important goal ”. A goal for which the main opponent still seems to be Milan. “Olimpia is, together with us and Venice, a very strong and competitive team. And the Serie A that I found on my return from the NBA is an important championship “.

Beli also wants to resume the discussion with Italy, interrupted with the renunciation of the Pre-Olympic which has triggered several controversies. “I followed the Olympics, I felt with some teammates: they came out with their heads held high, playing beautiful basketball against a strong team like France – says Beli -. But there was in me the regret of not being able to be there for physical reasons, as I had anticipated to some comrades and to President Petrucci. Personally, for the relationship that had been created with him, things were said about my absence that bothered me. I never said anything, reacting like a pro and trying to prove things on the pitch. At that moment it was important to remain united and cheer for Italy at the Olympics: the problems have been put aside, it seems right now to say that there are things that bothered me. I presume we will have the opportunity to clarify, we will see in the coming months if we do it in time for the European Championship ”.

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Belinelli: “Virtus da bis Scudetto, but the first goal is …”

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