INTERVIEW PREVIEW: “Our goal is fighting for every title”, “Luka is so special”, “We have to fight to the end” – Edy Tavares, Real Madrid’s star center talks club, Doncic & keys vs Maccabi Tel Aviv

Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Real Madrid on Wednesday in Euroleague Gameday 9 action as the Yellow & Blue head to Spain for two contests with a Gameday 10 clash at Valencia on Friday evening. Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad comes into the game with a 3-5 record while Real is 4-4 after a rocky start to the season.

One of the Real stars Edy Tavares is a massive force in the paint and at 7”3 will cause Maccabi all kinds of issues inside as he usually does. The Main Cape Verde native began his career with Gran Canaria and also played for a short period of time in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Tavares joined Real Madrid in 2017 and is beginning his fourth season with the club, however, this campaign has gotten off to a rough start the big man explained, “We did not start our season in the best way but I hope we will go up by the middle of the season as we have done in previous years. It is a long process, there are many games and, in the end, our goal is fighting for every title at stake. That is what we have always done and this year this should not change.”

Coach Pablo Laso has been with the club since 2011 and has captured two Euroleague titles in his pocket so far at the helm as Tavares knows exactly why he has been so successful, “The key is that Pablo Laso wants to win every game and he pushes us to get better every day. His winning mentality motivates us a lot. That is the most important thing for the whole team.”

Dov Halickman Photography

During the 2017/18 season, Tavares was able to play with future NBA star Luka Doncic as they teamed up to win the 2018 Euroleague title, “Luka is so special. He is going to be one of those great NBA players we do not see very often and for a long time. He is a super smart player and he is taking advantage of the space he enjoys there which makes him unstoppable many times. He will be a super star in short period of time.”

Currently there are a pair of youngsters who have the potential to become stars in their own right in Usman Garuba and Carlos Alocen. Tavares feels that they also have a chance to reach the highest of heights, “Usman and Carlos are working hard to get better. They are in the good way and in the right hands. Both can be great players in the future too.”

As for his own time in the NBA, Tavares who is now 28 years old was drafted 43rd overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2014 draft played in the world’s best league between 2015-2017 with both the Hawks and Cavaliers while also featuring in the G-League. Does he have any plans on a return? “Not really. I am very happy in Madrid and I love Spain. I am working hard to be better every day here I do not think about going to the US now.”

As for the upcoming game against Maccabi, Tavares explained what Real Madrid has to do in order to notch the win, “We have to do the same things we have been doing so far. We have to play focused and fight till the very end knowing that Maccabi is a great team and that it will be complicated to beat them.” 

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