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27.08.2007, 12:10
The EHF Champions League introduces: László Nagy
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Eurohandball.com launches new interview series for season 2007/08. In the next four weeks, we will introduce you life and handball in FC Barcelona through László Nagy, who talks about his career, experience and also about the upcoming CL Qualifiers.
 

The EHF Champions League introduces:

 

László Nagy (FC Barcelona)

Nagy has become key player for the Catalonian clubDespite his young age, born in 1981, László Nagy is the second longest serving current Barcelona player (after goalkeeper Barrufet). The Hungarian was transferred to the Catalonians in 2000 and he has soon become a standard player of the team. His most important titles with the club are Spanish Championship (2002/03 and 2005/06), EHF Cup (2002/03) and most of all, the Champions League trophy (2004/05).


Eurohandball.com: You grew up in Hungary, in a city with great handball traditions, Szeged. Tell us about the start of your career in a place where this sport is virtually the most important thing.

László Nagy: In fact, I was born in Székesfehérvár, but we moved to Szeged when I was just 1. My father was a professional basketball player and he got a job in Szeged, so we moved with my mother and brother. My brother also plays handball, he is a goalkeeper in the Hungarian first division squad, Békés. The right back has been playing for FCB since 2000In fact, everyone played basketball in our family, so it was the first choice for me as well.

I met handball in primary school, but on a club level I played basketball. I was in the cadet national team of Hungary when I was 13. I was also awarded a scholarship in the USA to study and play basketball there, but I rejected it. I was too young for that and I was getting more and more attracted to handball.

Eurohandball.com: It must have been a strong attraction to turn down a chance in the US to try handball. What was decisive in this?

László Nagy: First of all, the atmosphere in the Szeged sports hall, always full for the big matches. Than I went for a training and met very good team mates. It was also important that I had a share of success very soon with two victories at international youth tournaments.

Former team mate, Dániel BudayEurohandball.com: Who were these good team mates?

László Nagy: Dániel Buday (currently playing for Rhein-Neckar Löwen – ed.) and Balázs Laluska (Ademar León player – ed.) were in the team. We were all born in 1981, but played in the league for the players born in 1977 as we were mature enough physically and mentally.

Eurohandball.com: You all got promoted to the senior team very soon…

László Nagy: I was 16 when I joined the senior team. The coach was László Skaliczki, who is the coach of the national team today. It was a great feeling to train with the first squad.

In the first year we spent very little time on court, but we were happy to train with the stars. The second year we got more opportunity and the third we have become standard and – we may say – important players for the team. But I didn’t have much time after this, because Barcelona signed me next year.

The mentor, József ÉlesEurohandball.com: Who was the player you could look up to in this period? Or who was the one who helped you the most?

László Nagy: If I have to pick one name, I would say it was József Éles (former Veszprém player, national player, Champions League top scorer – ed.). He helped me a lot in the national team. I got to like him right away and I think it was reciprocal. He was a great help.

Eurohandball.com: How did you get to Barcelona?

László Nagy: I played at the 1997 Youth European Championship in the category for the 1978 born players. We won the bronze medal game against Spain and the Spanish coach advised former Barcelona coach, Rivera, to take a look at me.

Rivera listened to the advice, signed Nagy and gave him confidenceEurohandball.com: You were transferred to Barcelona at a very young age. What was it like for you?

László Nagy: The first year was very tough. I got to the best handball team in the World where I had to replace a legendary right back, Urdangarin. I was surprised. I got great trust right from the first match and I was in the starting line-up all of a sudden.

However, the atmosphere was an even greater, positive surprise. I moved to Barcelona alone, without my family. The players knew it and they cared for me a lot. They told me where to go, what to do… They were all fathers and mothers to me.

Eurohandball.com: Who were the most helpful?

Two helpful stars: Xepkin and MasipLászló Nagy: Enric Masip, first of all. I’m glad that he stayed within the club after his retirement as sports director and he always gave a helping hand. Apart from him, I spent most time with Ortega and Xepkin. They made it much easier for me…

Eurohandball.com: Let’s stop here with your story this week. On Wednesday 29 August, Portuguese ABC Braga will host FC Barcelona for the Qualification Round of the Champions League. What are your expectations from this game?

László Nagy: Last year we reached only fourth place in Spain, which was quite frustrating for us. We have been awarded a wild card for the Champions League and we want to make good use of it. We will not take it easy, but try to get as far as possible.

Regarding our opponent, Braga, our coach has already seen them and he called our attention to a couple of tactical elements that we have to keep an eye on. We have been preparing for the match with a friendly tournament in Germany where we played various test games against local sides. We have to win both matches.


TEXT: Eurohandball.com
 
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