Facundo Campazzo is probably going through the best phase of his career. After an exhilarating presence at the 2019 World Cup in China with runners-up Argentina, the 28-year-old point guard has led Real Madrid to an eleven-game winning streak in the EuroLeague and to the first place in the Spanish League standings.
Madrid’s latest feat was beating Panathinaikos OPAP on the road by 87-75, with Campazzo contributng 6 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists in 25 minutes of play. Apart from his mediocre three-point shooting (at 30%), the two-time EuroLeague winner can take pride in a career-best season: 10.1 points, 6.7 assists and an impressive 93.6% from the charity stripe.
Campazzo’s development from a role player to the undisputed All-EuroLeague star that he is, stems from Real Madrid’s choice to lend him to Murcia for the 2016-17 season and from his own work that has already rendered him one of the most prominent and effective two-way players currently earning a living in Europe. His on-ball pressure is second to none, his assist-turnover ratio is hard to find and his clutch moments can be easily compared to his teammate’s Sergio Llull.
However, “Facu” and Sergio have another thing in common: they both seem indifferent to the NBA sirens that brought Luka Doncic from Madrid to Dallas in 2018. Following in the Spaniard’s footsteps, the Argentinean signed a multi-year deal with Real Madrid, which nevertheless includes an NBA-out clause. Judging by what Campazzo told TalkBasket.net, moving his talents to the NBA was a teenage dream that holds slim chances of materialising. Real fans can rest assured that the “American dream” is by no means a priority for the six-foot-tall guard.
Here is what Facundo Campazzo said about the win vs Panathinaikos, the upcoming Spanish derby (on December, 29) vs Barcelona and his future.
Q: How did Real Madrid manage to win this game?
A: It was a tough one. In order to win in this gym, you’ve got to play good basketball. I believe that we made a great game. We had a very complete second quarter that made the difference for our side. In the second half, we maintained our lead. It was difficult to do that in a home court like this and against a team that likes to run the floor and make the most of the fast-break opportunities. It was the key to us controlling the game.
Q: Madrid is on a nine-win streak against Panathinaikos Athens and currently stands as the only European team to have beaten the Greens at OAKA four times in a row. How did you do that?
A: It’s the winning mentality of each and everyone of us. OAKA is a difficult place to play that requires 100% of one’s physical and mental capacities, because of the fans and also because of the very good home team which has an incredible nucleus of Greek players. That’s why I’m pointing out the winning spirit of our team that has managed to keep concentration during the whole game. Despite our ups and downs, we didn’t let ourselves be carried away.
Q: Up next for Madrid is the Spanish “clásico” at Barcelona. Have you started thinking about it?
A: We want to end this year in the best possible way in order to maintain our good dynamic. We know that it’s not going to be easy because they play very well both at home and on the road. They’re an immense team and a very complete one, since any of their players can wreak havoc. No matter how many injuries they have, we know how dangerous they still are. We have to remain focused and mentally prepared in order to keep the first place.
Q: How does it feel to travel, train and play during the Christmas period?
A: We don’t have a holiday period. Since I arrived in Europe, I have never enjoyed Christmas at home, with my family. We know that this is our job and that is has its pros and cons, but since you decide to be here, you start getting used to this way of thinking. Obviously, everyone likes to be with their families, but this is the nature of our sport. I know what Rudy wrote on Twitter about ELPA (the EuroLeague Players Association) considering this matter. ELPA was made to help the players. We have trust in this union.
Q: You’ve said several times that you were obsessed with the NBA in the past. Why did you use to think like that?
A: It was kind of an obsession for me until some years ago. Right now, I’m very calm about it. It was a teenage dream that one has, growing up and watching the NBA. Players like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash could make you fall in love with basketball whenever you turned on the television. At the age of 10-12, I used to say that it would be like a fantasy dream for me to play there. Now, I feel very calm with my presence in Madrid. If it comes, let it come. If not, I’ll try to become the best version of myself.
Q: Are you planning on staying with Real Madrid until 2024?
A: Well, I signed that contract for a reason. I feel valued, respected and raised by the club and that gives me peace of mind.
Q: If you were to choose an NBA franchise, which one would it be?
A: Nah, I keep my mind focused on what’s happening here. I always liked to watch the San Antonio Spurs because of Manu Ginobili. Manu has been one of the most important athletes in the history of sport in Argentina. Thank God, there are many great athletes in the country – and basketball players in particular. I feel blessed to have been on the same team with him. Lately, I have been watching Dallas because of Luka Doncic. He is incredible and he’s also enjoying it very much.
Q: Three years ago, Luis Scola said that your body wouldn’t help you in case you decided to play in the NBA.
A: Well, that was three years ago. Now, I’m feeling very well. My body has helped me a lot in order to improve my athleticism and professionalism. I’m trying to improve as a professional day by day.