He became a starter in the first full season of the decade and from that point Sergio Llull has led Real Madrid to a new golden era. With the dynamic combo-guard as its talisman, Real reached seven Final Fours, four championship games and won the EuroLeague twice over the last decade. A Real legend-in-the-making, Llull is also the latest addition to the 2010-20 EuroLeague All-Decade team as voted by fans, media, players and coaches.
"This is probably the best moment of my career. I am really happy. I think we deserved to win it, but sports doesn't relate to logic sometimes. We had to work harder than ever and here it is!" (Llull, after winning his first EuroLeague title in 2015)
Few players combine as many skills as Llull, whose creative energy knows no bounds and whose on-court leadership was a key ingredient of Real's run to the top. One of the few players to spend the whole decade with the same team, Llull was a key ingredient in his team's run-and-gun offense. A physical guard with unlimited shooting range and a rare ability to consistently make seemingly impossible shots, Llull won several individual and team awards throughout the decade.
An incredible run
Llull started the decade as Real's sixth man and brought intensity and energy off the bench. The next season, he was starting and earned All-EuroLeague Second Team honors as he helped Real to its first Final Four in 15 years. Llull would not stop until he led Real back to its glory days. He led a core of players who made it to three consecutive EuroLeague championship games from 2013 to 2015. After two painful losses against Olympiacos Piraeus in 2013 and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in 2014, Llull helped Real lift the EuroLeague trophy in 2015 for the first time in 20 years by averaging 12.0 points and 6.5 assists in the Final Four. Llull earned the EuroLeague MVP trophy and All-EuroLeague First Team honors in 2017 and returned from a serious knee injury to help Real win its 10th continental crown in 2018. He also earned MVP of the Month honors in April 2013 and November 2016.
"I got goosebumps when our P.A. announcer said my name. I stepped on court and everyone was on their feet and giving me an ovation. It was one of the most beautiful moments I experienced as a Real Madrid player, feeling that support, that affection. It was incredible, a very emotional day for me." (Llull after his return from injury in April 2018)
Llull was a EuroLeague icon in the 2010s, ranking second in minutes played (6,125) and three-point shots made (410), fourth in scoring (2,717), sixth in assists (991) and eighth in performance index rating (2,691).
Llull arguably had better games, especially during his MVP season, but his effort in the 2018 EuroLeague semifinals against CSKA Moscow was one for the ages. After being sidelined for 9 months, Llull returned to action midway through Real's playoffs series against Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens. The semifinal against CSKA was just his third EuroLeague game that season. Llull showed his determination, fighting spirit and commitment to the club - what they call Madridismo - with a stellar performance, coming off the bench to score 16 points and dish 5 assists to down the Russian powerhouse. Llull became the X-factor in that critical game and Real went on to win the title.