ANDl ‘affair’ Thomas Heurtel has been one of the great workhorses with which the real Madrid this season. As talented as he is wayward, the French point guard who has already gone wrong Barcelonalooks for a team once he knows that he will not continue in Madrid, where he has not left a good memory either.

Heurtel He was sanctioned for indiscipline and removed from Madrid. He missed the entire season finale, almost played in the final of the Euroleaguebut Laso ultimately decided against it, and in the final of the Endesa Leaguesummoned, was injured in the first training.

Now the point guard breaks his silence for the first time since the incident and speaks to L’Equipe in an extensive and in-depth interview in which he describes the end of his journey in Madrid as “the hardest moment of my career“.

Heurtel first explains why it has taken so long to speak: “It would have been selfish to start talking about my situation staff in the middle of the play-offs. He wouldn’t have changed a thing and he didn’t want to hurt the team. I was training and they told me that they would reinstate me with the hope of playing the final normally. Unfortunately, in the first training session, I sprained my ankle” and he was no longer able to play against Barça.

These two months have been the most difficult moment of my career.”

When the point guard talks about the victory against the Barça team, sweet and bitter feelings are mixed. Especially the last: “In the summary of the season, it is necessary to include La Liga Endesa and the Final Four of the Euroleague. I am happy for the club and my teammates after working so hard to get here. And yet, these two months have been the most difficult moment of my career.”

Then he analyzes the final phase in Belgrade, the thorn in his side: “I am convinced that I could have contributed, whether it was in one, ten, twenty minutes (in the Euroleague final). I would have loved to have had the opportunity. The Final Four was a dream, after several years failing at the gates of the event. After Nigel Williams-Goss was injured, he hoped to play in the final. But Pablo Laso had made a decision and kept it. I had no choice but to accept it. I was concentrating on my routines, doing my best in training and trying to be ready.”

I am convinced that I could have contributed in the Euroleague final”

Though Heurtel he wasn’t playing a regular year, he was contributing to the team. Suddenly the Athens incident occurs on March 31: “I went out in Athens the day before a match. The context was complicated, the team was going through a losing streak. It was written that we returned in the morning, and it is false. But it’s the same. When I think about this story, it makes me sad. A bad choice, and I destroyed what I was trying to build with a great club like Real Madrid. If I could go back I’d never make the same mistake. We had an argument a few days later, I apologized. They decided. I paid, like a big boy. I will never fall again. But he ate me up inside.”

If I could go back, I would never make the same mistake. I apologize. They decided. I paid, like a big boy. But he ate me up inside”

The balance, of course, is that the season was touched: “It destroyed my season and what I could have achieved with Madrid. I was living a year that I would say is correct. I had a role from the bench, ups and downs. All players want more, playing time, responsibility. But we were first in all the competitions. He was satisfied and had no reason to think that Madrid thought otherwise. But in the end, people keep the last frame. They will remember the incident and the fact that I did not play for two months. It doesn’t accurately reflect my season.”

Heurtel still has the taste that the club acted differently with the players. He and Thompkins were sidelined and Yabusele was fined: “Many things may seem unfair. I don’t know how to explain it and it’s not my role to do so

But the point guard makes it clear that there was no friction with Pablo Laso: “From my point of view, the group has always been united, the team came to my house to celebrate my son’s birthday. The atmosphere was cooler afterwards. That’s what It hurt me. There was no clash between Laso and me, neither before nor after. We ate together, we talked a lot. Pablo had trusted me and that I had betrayed him. His heart attack (halfway through the semi-final) was a very difficult moment”.

There was no clash between Laso and me, neither before nor after. We ate together, we talked a lot and he reminded me that he had trusted me and betrayed him.”

The Frenchman also has time to remember what happened in Barcelona. The Istanbul incident, the non-return on the team plane, still echoes in his mind and he explains it, assuming his mistakes: “My former agents were negotiating a way out. They were talking to Madrid. I knew it, but not Barcelona, ??who thought he was going to sign for Fenerbahçe. My agents asked me to travel with the team to Istanbul. Barça discovered everything before the match against Efes. At the end of the afternoon, I’m in the parking lot and at the foot of the bus, they tell me: ‘We’re leaving. You stay. We’ll get you a plane ticket for tomorrow.’ Fortunately, Rodrigue Beaubois (Efes) was still in the room. He took me back. Clearly, I should have refused to go to Istanbul, put my cards on the table, say who we were negotiating with, even if it meant risking their refusal. The club had always been clear and fair with me. Then the club and Sarunas Jasikevicius are two different things… After his arrival everything changed. And after the incident in Istanbul, they didn’t even talk to me anymore. It was very hard for me and my family.”