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22.04.2013, 15:00
Rising handball stars of 2013, part 12: Marino Marić
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The line player is part of Croatia's latest generation of talented juniors and he is keen to make the next step
 

Rising handball stars of 2013, part 12: Marino Marić

Croatia has a new player to continue their fine tradition on the line.

Players like Božidar Jović, Nenad Kljaić, Igor Vori, Renato Sulić and Željko Musa have graced the position for the national team and with Marino Marić, the future looks bright.

The career of this young perspective began with a great dilemma.

“I liked sport as a child but I had no idea which is the right one for me. I was a football goalkeeper but my parents advised me to train some kind of indoor sport and first thing I thought of was handball so I started playing in HC Zrinjski in my home town of Mostar.

“At the beginning we were a great team and things were going pretty well,” explained Marić.

But things were not going so well for him as club ambitions fell. At that time, Marino was already playing for Croatia's underage national teams so he decided to move to HC Zagreb.

“I wanted to see if I can really do it in a professional club playing at a higher level, so in 2009 I moved to Zagreb.

“It also was a great team and it was one of my bigger steps in career because in Zagreb you see if it really is for you and if you can do it.”

In 2009 Marino won his first international medal. Croatia's juniors won the World Championship in Tunisia with Marić being the best line player of the tournament and scoring nine goals in final match against Iceland.

''That World Championship was my generation’s best championship. We were playing so dominant and won that gold medal with our coach Vladimir Canjuga.

“On top of all that, I was announced as the best line player of the tournament.  It was really great," said Marić, who from that moment on, has been proving his quality and has emerged as someone Croatia can count on in the future.

January’s World Championship in Spain was the first major senior competition for Marić.

He had previously been chosen as an alternative, but this time he was a squad member and getting court time.

''I was really happy when coach Goluža called me for Spain and told me that this time I'll get a bigger chance.

“I think that our young players have to improve their strength and endurance. We also need some time to start playing the best that we can but everyone must trust us.

“Even 10 years ago when this great Croatian handball generation started, everyone trusted the new and young team and everything went well.

“Speaking of my performance, I believe that my career has only been going upwards in the last few seasons and I am very happy about that.

“I just hope that I can avoid injuries and give me a chance to play for as long as I can.

“People often tell me that I have a great talent but I always say that there is a big step between talented and established player and I hope that I will have the time to show everything I capable of,” said Marić, who will be fighting for a place on the EHF EURO 2014 squad, should Croatia secure their place at the event.

“Wings give beauty to the game of handball”
 
When asked who in the world of handball he sees as his idol or who’s playing style he likes,  Marić gave an unexpected and honest answer.

''I believe that pivots depend very much on a team they play in, sometimes even too much.

“I can't mark off any pivot as a player I look up to. When I see all those battles that we are having on my position I simply envy the wings.

“Their role is not to lead all this hard battles during the game but to be spectacular. To fly high, score a lot of beautiful goals, get the crowd on their feet and they are all doing it so nice and easy.

“I like players like Anders Eggert or my national team colleague Manuel Štrlek because I believe that they are what modern handball is all about.

“Not many handball 'schools' today are all about pivots but about playing fast and effective and wings are doing the best they can to make the game of handball even more beautiful.

“Not to be misunderstood, I like my position very much too, it definitely also has some positive sides,'' concludes a laughing Marić.


TEXT: Bruno Pinević / cor
 
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