The Celtics tip off their preseason this week with games in Milan and Madrid, which are home to the two winningest teams in UEFA Champions League history. At their first stop, they have taken a "when in Milan, do as the Milanese do" attitude, watching, discussing and even playing a little soccer.
On Sunday morning president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Marcus Smart and Evan Turner as they kicked a ball around in the town square at their picturesque Lake Como headquarters:
They got to see plenty of goals, too, although it did not go well for their hosts, who were pummelled 4-0 by S.S.C. Napoli. Boston will face Olimpia Milano on Tuesday.
Next up is Real Madrid on Thursday. While the club is the defending Euroleague champion, it is best known for its soccer team, winner of a record 10 Champions League titles. Smart showed a familiarity with the team, per The Boston Globe's Adam Himmelsbach:
Marcus Smart is apparently a big Real Madrid (futbol) fan: "Cristiano Ronaldo is one of my favorite players. Karim Benzema too."
Cristiano Ronaldo has been known to attend Real basketball games in the past, and the draw of an NBA game could be too much for one of the world's biggest sports stars to pass up, so Smart may get the chance to meet one of his favorite players this week.