Luka Doncic confirms his Los Blancos love: “if I come back, it will be to Real Madrid”
The Dallas Mavericks player still has a huge amount of love for Real Madrid, his previous team: “I’ve thought about this a lot”.
Former Real Madrid player, Luka Doncic, now of the Dallas Mavericks, is set for a huge day when he takes on his former team as part of the NBA side’s preseason after finishing 11th in the Western Conference. The Slovenian made his name as an elite star for Los Blancos, playing for the side from 2015 to 2018, before making a move to the NBA, where he established himself at the forefront of the sport.
Now, he is set to return as Real Madrid take on the Mavericks in a game that pits the most successful team in European basketball history versus an NBA franchise. The 24-year-old sat in front of the press at Madrid’s WiZink Center stadium, where he spoke about the affection he still holds for his old team.
“If one day I return to Europe, I will surely go back to Madrid, that’s 100%,” he said. “But I don’t know what the future will be, but if I come back, it will surely be to Real Madrid”. There are no doubts in his mind, that’s for sure. “There are a lot [of memories], just being sat here, training at Valdebebas (Madrid’s training ground), they are good memories and I’m very happy to be here”, he gushed.
Playing against Real Madrid ‘one of the most special games for me’
Doncic spoke about the sense of anticipation he has had inside “for months”. The game holds a genuinely special significance for the guard, something he made abundantly clear: “It’s going to be for sure one of the most special games for me, if not the most. I have told Mark Cuban many times and he always told me that this game was going to happen. I’ve thought about this a lot.”
The Slovenian’s move to Dallas was a heartbreaking moment for fans in Madrid, as the player had grown at the club from a novice to a world star, but it was a necessary move in order to fully establish himself at the top of the world game. The style of play is “a very different kind of basketball,” according to Doncic, who said that “in the end, you have a wider court and the 3-point line is further away. But I think that in Europe you play more as a team, that is, in fewer minutes you play more as a team. The plays are very important. I think there are not many plays in the NBA, so team basketball is very important,” he mentioned.
Comparisons between the NBA in-season tournament (which has a two-stage event before the Championship game) and the Spanish Cup were also mentioned: “I have played the Copa del Rey here. It’s something special for me. I don’t know how it’s going to be in the NBA. It’s the first year they’re doing it. I don’t know the rules yet and how it’s all built up but I think it’s going to be OK. And it’s good if there are always chances to win.”
‘I hope one day we play at the Bernabéu’
It was clear - and absolutely delightful - to see the gooey emotion bubbling throughout his 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) frame as he returned to his love for Los Blancos and Spain in general, as well as mentioning what he’d take back to Dallas from Madrid: “It would be some of my [old] teammates. Rudy [Fernández], [Sergio] Llull, a coach, a physiotherapist. But what I am going to take for sure is some jamón!”
Pablo Laso, the legendary Real Madrid coach, was in charge of the side between from 2011 and 2022. “My first coach”, Doncic said, “he has given me a lot. Now he has a chance at Bayern. His departure has been as it has been, but I know that he is very much loved in Madrid. He has given a lot to this club and they surely miss him.”
Finally, he was asked about the new Santiago Bernabéu, and his hopes of playing at the newly renovated stadium: “I hope one day we play at the Bernabéu”, he said, “may the NBA bring us back to Madrid!”