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12.10.2013, 19:05
Neagu: The most important thing is to enjoy handball
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INTERVIEW: Former World Handball Player of the Year speaks about her delight to return to the court after successive injury setbacks
 

Neagu: The most important thing is to enjoy handball

Buducnost started the new Women’s EHF Champions League season with the convincing win over Poland’s MKS Lublin (31:19), with a great game in attack and defence, in which 10 players made it onto the scorers list.

The home fans in the Morača hall welcomed a lot of new players into Dragan Adzic’s team. Romanian Cristina Neagu, 2010 IHF Player of the World, played her first game in the competition since 18 November 2012 (when she scored three goals for Oltchim Rm. Valcea against Buxtehuder SV).

Neagu suffered a knee injury on 28 January during a practice session and happened just three months after returning from a 20 month break caused by serious shoulder injuries.

The game against MKS Lublin showed that Neagu is on the right road to be back to her best shape. She speaks to ehfCL.com about Buducnost’s start to the season and her return to the court.

ehfCL.com: Did you expect such an easy win against MKS Lublin?

Cristina Neagu: After many years absence, Lublin returned to the Champions League and I think they were nervous.

However, we prepared for the game very well, as we do for every opponent. We played at home, we expected to play well and win by many goals.

ehfCL.com: On Sunday you will have a harder task, in Hungary against FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria who lost the first away game with FC Midtjylland (32:23). What do you expect from that game?

Cristina Neagu: We know it will be really a tough match. We will prepare for the game as best as possible. For us it would be very important to take points from Hungary, because it’s an away game and it’s going to count very much in the table in our group, since FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria and FC Midtjylland will be fighting with us for the main round.

ehfCL.com: What was going through your mind before your return to the competition after such a long time away through injury? Were there any nerves?

Cristina Neagu: I was excited to be on the court again and to play in the Champions League. For me the most important thing is to be healthy and give my best for myself and Buducnost.

I didn’t have any fear. I am training at 100%. I am not afraid, I'm just trying to be back again as I used to be.

It's not so easy for me because I have been off the court for more than two years in the past two and half years. However, the most important thing is that I love handball, I love to be on the court. This is my motivation.

ehfCL.com: Four goals and a few assists signalled a good start to the competition for you. Do you agree?

Cristina Neagu: It's a good start, but for me it’s not the most important. The priority for me is to have the feeling of playing handball, of enjoying handball, to be excited on the court again.

I try to do my best all the time. Sometimes I play well, sometimes not, but the point is to give your maximum in every game.

ehfCL.com: You are the most famous of Buducnost’s reinforcement for this season and there are big expectations on you to be at your best. Do you feel the pressure?

Cristina Neagu: I don’t feel any kind of pressure. The coach and the club helped me with that, they told me that I don’t have to feel any pressure.

I was best player in the world three years ago and it's already history. I'm just a player who tries to enjoy handball, and give the best on the court, because this is what I love most.

ehfCL.com: Buducnost are one of the favourites not only to reach the main round, but also to fight to make it to the semi-final. In your opinion, how far can your team go?

Cristina Neagu: We just want to go step by step, this is most important for us, we don’t want to think too far ahead. The most important game is always the next one, but I hope we can go as far as possible.

ehfCL.com: Budućnost is your first foreign experience. How do you feel in the new club?

Cristina Neagu: I feel great, just amazing in the new team. Everybody is great with me, I am playing handball again, I am healthy. When my friends from Romania ask me how I am, I tell them that I feel great. I hope it will stay like this, because, I could spend the rest of my career abroad, who knows?


TEXT: Saša Jončić / cor
 
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