At 35 years old, she is a basic piece for the defender of the title in the tournament that starts today in Slovakia and Hungary.
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Spain starts this Thursday (6:00 p.m., in front of the Czech Republic) his participation in the European Handball Championships in Hungary and Slovakia with mixed feelings. The team of jordi rivera defends title, but many key players are missing in recent years, there are new faces and Joan Caellas (Santa Mara de Palautordera, Barcelona, 1986) returns to the team after missing the Tokyo Games. Experience speaks: 35 years old, international since 2008 (adding 141 games and 377 goals), world champion in 2013 and Europe in 2018 and 2020.
- A fibrillar rupture, then a fracture… Finishing 2021 was a relief?
- In the summer whatever happened, it was very frustrating, but the year hasn’t been bad on a sporting level. We won bronze in the World Cup, with the club we won the League, I am happy with how the experience has gone in a new competition, in Switzerland, and in a new team (Kadetten Schaffhausen) but it is true that, in the Olympic year, the Games had been marked on the calendar, it could not be and it was a disappointment. Maybe it was the worst moment of my sports career, but it’s over.
- Was it weird having to live the Games on TV?
- The truth is that I did not see them. I didn’t see Rio’s anymore, because we didn’t qualify and it made me very angry not to be there. Of these, I followed the results, but the truth is that it caused me anxiety to know when they played. Obviously, you find out everything, but, for mental health, I decided not to watch the Games. That doesn’t mean I didn’t support them. I simply prefer not to be aware at all times.
- Until when will you continue playing at the highest level?
- I’m old enough, but it’s not so much how you feel, but how others see you. Many times you don’t withdraw, they withdraw you. I don’t want to finish without playing or giving a bad image. Now I feel good, I live in the present. I have to be proud of the career I have, I don’t set a date to finish, but I am aware that the end is near.
- Now, the one who misses the European due to injury is Alex Dujshebaev. Do you think that the selection is going to accuse his absence a lot?
- Alex brings a lot. In defense it is easier to replace him than in attack, because at specific moments he is one of those who assumes responsibility and usually does so successfully. But, when one is not there, others appear, and, in recent years, the results have continued to be there. Those of us who are here have to pull the car.
- In addition, there are a few new faces in the selection. This kind of generational change gives renewed energy or does it mean that you have to have more patience?
- A bit of everything. Evidently, new people bring more desire and other characteristics that, likewise, can give the rival difficulties. A player like Dani Sarmiento is not the same as Agustin Casado or Ian Tarrafeta, each one has their strengths and weaknesses and we will try to exploit their strengths. They are more dynamic people, with less experience, but with more cheek. On the other hand, regardless of the fact that there are newer people now, although the objectives may remain more or less intact, we must be aware that it is not normal for a team to have reached the semifinals for so long year after year.
- How do you see the team?
- It’s hard to tell, because we haven’t had much filming. Everything changes when you start competing, with the nerves and the pressure. You have to try to start well, that’s important. We have a group that is not easy and only the first two of the group qualify. The people who have entered have a lot of quality, freshness and can contribute a lot from the beginning. People can expect a good performance from those of us who have been around the longest, but I think the youngsters are going to surprise more than one.
- To repeat the success of 2020 is to venture too much?
- From the outset, there are teams that have more possibilities than us. First, because they haven’t won anything for years, and repeating always costs more than winning once, and we’ve already repeated. On the other hand, there are also teams with players of more favorable ages than us and who have already gained experience. For example, Hungary has been working for a few years now with a group of guys between 25 and 30 years old, which I think are the best ages. Norway or France would also be there, although France already won the gold medal at the Games. We’ll see where the road takes us.
Reference from elmundo