|Ádám Hanga at his recent fan meeting in Budapest (Photo: Csaba Dömötör)|
– We're shocked...
– Well, I can't believe what happened to me either – Ádám Hanga, 32, who signed with the Catalan rival Real Madrid for two-plus one years just days after Barca announced they had terminated his contract before 2022, told Nemzeti Sport in a cheerful voice.
– Then tell me how it happened, because probably a lot of people are curious about how you got to the 35-time champion and 10-time EuroLeague/EC winning team from the 19-time Spanish champion!
– I'll try to explain it briefly, although I could talk about this for a day... I had a year left on my contract but a few days after winning the championship title, the management indicated that they wanted to negotiate with me, as they had done with several of my teammates before.
– Did you expect what you heard?
– Actually, yes, because we all knew, who worked at Barcelona, that the club was undergoing a change of management and that they wanted to renegotiate the contracts. I had a hunch they were probably going to cut my salary. Instead, they indicated they wouldn't count on me in the future.
– Did they justify this decision?
– I reportedly couldn't fit into the idea of the team of the future; they want to rejuvenate it. A lot of people in town say the club is also in financial trouble. Then I spoke to head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, who said he wanted me to stay, but I don't quite believe him... Anyway, I don't care. I'm leaving with a clear conscience because, in the last four years, I've done everything I could for the team. I've been respected, loved, and I didn't want to leave.
– A lot of people think the Lithuanian coach has humiliated you a little by sending you to the court for seven seconds in the EuroLeague final...
– We talked to him about it as well. It hurt a lot at the time, and I didn't get a meaningful explanation, but I don't even care about what happened anymore.
– What happened next?
– Barca gave me a so-called resignation offer that I accepted. Then, I got out on the market, and I was in demand. My agent, András Lóránt contacted several teams including Zenit in Russia, Armani Milano in Italy, Valencia and Real Madrid in Spain. Because of my family – as we've been living in Spain for years and my daughters already speak Spanish – it was clear that I wanted to stay here and play for a team that's at least in the EuroLeague. Then it soon became known that Real really wanted me – me who had irritated them a lot in the past and who transfers from the enemy! We agreed and I was very happy to continue my career at a mega-club like this. I'm aware that I've transferred to my arch-rivals, but it wasn't my decision to leave Barca, to which overall I'm grateful and feel lucky. I'm really looking forward to the new season. I signed for two plus one years at the age of 32, which says a lot about what kind of a player they consider me at Madrid. If ever, now all the years of hard work and sometimes suffering and torment that I put into basketball paid off.
„Ádám is one of the best small forwards in the EuroLeague, but he can excel in several positions – says András Lóránt, Ádám Hanga's manager. – Real Madrid is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, clubs in the world, and this team seriously counts on Ádám, who is very determined and motivated. The summer of 2017 was loud in Europe from Ádám's change of club, and the situation is similar this year as well. I think it's a great thing to have a contract; I believe that Ádám and his family deserve the best."
|Ádám Hanga enjoyed success against Real Madrid in the league final. He now has signed a contract with the capital city team (Photo: AFP)|
Born: April 12, 1989; Budapest
Real Madrid wasn't left without a trophy last season either. Although they obviously hoped for more in the Spanish Super Cup at the metropolis club, key players transferring as well as injuries caused some trouble. Nevertheless, in the quarterfinals of the EuroLeague, they forced later-winner Anadolu Efest of Turkey to play five matches. Then, they reached both the Spanish League and Spanish Cup finals but lost to FC Barcelona. For the following season, in addition to Ádám Hanga's arrival, French point guard Thomas Heurtel (moved from Barca in the middle of last season and briefly played at Villeurbanne), American Nigel Williams-Goss from Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia and Guerschon Yabusele from France (transferred from Villeurbanne), are the reinforcements so far. Argentine Nicolás Laprovíttola, however, has left Real and could end up at
Although he didn't play in any of the official matches, only one Hungarian athlete could say that he was a member of both Real Madrid and Barcelona before Ádám Hanga. Therefore, the 32-year-old national team basketball player could be the first to play for both clubs in stake matches. After he defected in 1956 and a two-year ban, the now-83-year-old László Kaszás (Kaszner) was part of Barca between 1958 and 1959 and Real from 1959 to 1960. However, could only watch the stars from the bench or the stands. Although he is considered a European Cup winner on paper, as he told Index in 2012, it is unnecessary to call him that. In that particular European Cup final in 1960, Ferenc Puskás loaded the German Eintracht Frankfurt's net with four goals – fewer people know that “The Galloping Major” also wore the Barca jersey in László Kubala's farewell match. In addition to Puskás, other emblematic Hungarian figures of Real Madrid were Lipót Hertzka, coach of the club's first championship team, Emil Östreicher, who was the technical director of the royal team from 1957 to 1963. Our footballer Ádám Szalai also spent three years with the royal reserve team.
An emblematic example of the transfer between Real Madrid and Barcelona is the case of Portuguese Golden Ball footballer Luís Figo, who moved to Madrid in 2000. Fans don't forget, which was presented in November 2002: a pig's head was thrown onto the pitch next to the player ready for the corner kick. There were 16 signings directly from Barca to Real, a reverse case surprisingly happened three times only (the last one was in 1996 when the Spanish head coach Luis Enrique transferred). Ádám Hanga's transfer is not unprecedented in basketball either, but the Barca-Real route is somewhat more frequent here. In 1999, the legendary Serbian player and coach Aleksandar Djordjevic was on this route, while Ante Tomic of Croatia (who was Hanga's teammate with the Catalans for three years) took the reverse path in 2012.
Translated by Vanda Orosz