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23.04.2014, 15:30
Berlin swan song for Iker Romero
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NEWS REPORT: Füchse captain announces he will end playing career this summer after EHF Cup Finals on home court
 

Berlin swan song for Iker Romero

A stunning handball career will come to an end in May after former Spanish international Iker Romero announced that he will quit playing handball after this season.

His 18 year career included a long list of handball’s top achievements: world champion, twice EHF Champions League champion, twice winner of the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup, Spanish champion and cup winner, and two weeks also German cup winner.

The last major event in his extraordinary career will be the hunt for the only international title at club level he has not won, the EHF Cup.

On 17/18 May Romero will lead Füchse Berlin as team captain on the court for their mission to win the cup on home court, attended by 8,000 fans. One week later, he will have his final match, when the Bundesliga season comes to an end for Füchse against THW Kiel.

“To finish my career was the hardest decision I ever had to take in my life,” Romero was quoted on the Füchse website: “It is a moment no player on earth wants to have. But those 18 years of handball felt like 18 months to me. I have considered everything very carefully what is best for me, my body, my heart and my family. And I have decided to return to my family in Vitoria.”

Romero had different offers to continue his career, but finally he decided to quit: “There’s never a perfect moment to stop, but I believe that this is the right moment for me to start a new life.”

One and only foreign adventure

In 2011 Iker Romero had arrived at Füchse Berlin, after being crowned with his second EHF Champions League title, won with FC Barcelona at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.

In 2005 he had won this trophy for the first time with the Catalans, with whom he played from 2003 to 2011. Beforehand, Romero had spells with Ademar Leon, Valladolid and Ciudad Real, where he became EHF Cup Winners’ Cup champion in 2002 and 2003.

To transfer to Berlin was his first step abroad for the Spaniard, who also had a glittering international career as 2005 world champion, Olympic bronze medallist in 2008, EHF EURO silver in 2006 and World Championship bronze in 2011.

“Our coach Dagur Sigurdsson and manager Bob Hanning took a gamble to see whether they can manage to sign me and find out if it works to have me in their squad. But I believe they are quite satisfied with those three years of Iker Romero in Berlin,” said the 33-year-old.

In his first season in the German capital, Romero led his new team to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne, thanks to the biggest comeback in the quarter-finals of the competition’s history, as Füchse managed to turn an eleven-goal deficit around against Leon.

Two weeks ago Romero raised the German Cup trophy as Füchse captain – the first title in the history of the Berlin club.

“Those three years were the icing on the cake of my career,” says Romero: “But I have not finished yet. It is still my aim and my dream to win the EHF Cup Finals in May.”

Füchse manager Bob Hanning praises his outgoing star: “It is always aching when a player leaves, one who imprinted a club. However, this time it is the hardest moment since I am in charge in Berlin, as we do not only lose a great sportsman.

“Iker has left a big mark on the whole club in those three years, he conveyed us with a winners’ mentality and was a role model, not only for the players, but even for me.”

Romero will not only remain in the hearts of the fans, but also in a role for his club, as he will be a Füchse ambassador and an advisor.

“I don’t say farewell to Berlin, rather see you again soon,” concluded Romero.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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