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Milutinov: "I was certain one day I would be back"

Nikola Milutinov returned to Olympiacos and spoke for for everything he has in his mind right now.

The Serbian center is in our country enjoying his summer vacation. A few hours after signing his two year contract with the Greek double-crown winners, he spoke for the official web page of our team and unfolded his thinking.

Three years ago, in your statement following your agreement with CSKA Moscow, you had said that this was not going to be the end for you and Olympiacos. You proved that to be true. That’s how you had imagined coming back?

“Exactly, for me, Olympiacos is my home. I hadn’t known how my career with CSKA Moscow was going to evolve, I hadn’t known what I would be meeting there, but I was certain that one day I would be coming back to Greece for Olympiacos. I’m thrilled to be back. Many things have changed during these three years, the team has made leaps of progress of at all levels. I have never stopped communicating with people from the team, as well as with my old team-mates and I was learning about everything that was going on. And I’m extremely happy that the team is at this level now. Olympiacos is the ideal destination for every player in Europe right now”.  

You left Olympiacos during the season the team was not participating the Greek League, having made a historic decision. How had you experienced all of that and what was the feedback you were getting from your environment?

“It was definitely a historic decision by the Angelpoulos brothers that practically changed everything. People realized from the first moment that this was what had to happen for some things to change and embraced that decision. And everyone together, the fans, the administrations and the team, succeeded in bringing Olympiacos back to the top. The team in two years, won two Championship titles, two Greek Cups, one super cup and went to two Final Fours. Hard times are now behind, following a big battle and some tough decisions and I’m especially proud because I know very well how hard it has been for everyone on the team in the previous years”.

Now, Olympiacos will be opening up the new season as the reigning double – crown holder and a Euroleague finalist. Which are your personal goals as well as the ones you have for the team.

“I want to help as much as I can for the team to repeat the previous magical season. Coach Bartzokas has done a fantastic job. I want to follow his game plan and help the team any way I can. Let’s not forget that Olympiacos had during these two years to overcome the two greatest players in the team’s history, Spanoulis and Printezis, retiring. The administration, the coach and the team did a great job in that part and the transition not only was smooth, but also completely successful”.

During your last tenure with Olympiacos, you were team-mates with these two Legends. Now, you are going into the locker rooms and none of them is going to be there. Have you thought how this is going to feel? 

“It’s definitely going to be strange. Vassilis and Giorgos and two true Legends I can call my friends and we have lived through too much together. They gave all they had to the team and offered great moments and titles. But life moves forward, that’s sports, teams move on and the footprint of certain players remains, their era as we use to call it. I’m proud and blessed to have lived in the era of Spanoulis and Printezis”.

Would you like to create your own era with Olympiacos?

“This would be the absolute dream for me, but these two are mythical. You can’t touch them. What I can say and want to do is to follow coach Bartzokas’ plan to the letter and bring on the floor exactly what he asks of me so that I can help the team reach its goals”. 

There’s already talk about the best centers’ duo in Europe. It’s going to be you together with Moustapha Fall filling up the post. What do you think about it?

“Fall has played two great seasons with Olympiacos. He was dominant and has become one of the best big players in Europe. I’m excited to be team-mates. Now, about whether we are going to be the best duo in Europe, we’ll have to prove that with our work, talking about it means nothing”.