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05.12.2014, 10:40
Lazarov: "I'm not a one-man-show"
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INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: The Macedonian top scorer Kiril Lazarov talks to eurohandball.com about his team's hopes and chances at the upcoming World Championship and how he can go with Barcelona in the VELUX EHF Champions League
 

Lazarov: "I'm not a one-man-show"

He is a real goal machine: Kiril Lazarov has been the top scorer at all competition he played at.

In 2009 he became the best scorer at the World Championship in Croatia when he netted 92 times; in 2012 he achieved the same feat when he scored 61 times at the EHF EURO in Serbia, and on two occasions he became the top scorer of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

In January, the 35-year-old, who started his career in Bitola (FYR Macedonia) before he became a top star in Veszprem (Hungary), Zagreb (Croatia), Madrid and Barcelona, will travel to Doha, Qatar, full of confidence that FYR Macedonia can make it at least to the Last 16 of the World Championship.

In the preliminary round his team faces Austria, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Tunisia

In previous weeks Lazarov showed his invaluable importance for FYR Macedonia and his club FC Barcelona.

By scoring 22 goals in two EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers at the end of October he was responsible for almost half of all Macedonian goals, and in the VELUX EHF Champions League he is again the most efficient scorer with 57 goals to date.

eurohandball.com: Are you currently enjoying the time of your life, scoring series of goals?
Kiril Lazarov: It is going quite well at the moment, but still it is not all about goals. If I score 20 times and my teams lose, it was a disappointment. Handball is a team sport.

I try to help my team by scoring goals, but I'm only satisfied when my teams win. My motivation is winning. I am a very ambitious person. If there is a title to win, I always want to get it.

eurohandball.com: Hence it must have been very hard for you to lose last season’s VELUX EHF Champions League semi-final against Flensburg despite leading by six goals with only a few minutes left.
Kiril Lazarov: In my long career this was the most shocking match. Seven minutes before the end we were ahead by six and only needed to go through the door to the final. But then we missed it.

It was truly hard to recover from such a defeat. So it felt really good to take revenge and beat Flensburg twice in the group phase. This might have already been the key to top our group in the end.

eurohandball.com: Do the ambitions of FC Barcelona in the EHF Champions League remain making it to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne?
Kiril Lazarov: Indeed it is our goal, but so many teams have the same ambition this year and have a really high quality in their squads. I believe we will have a very thrilling fight for the tickets to Cologne. We definitely want to grab this chance to be part of the event again. It is nearly an obligation for us.

eurohandball.com: Do you believe that it is an advantage for FC Barcelona that you can mainly focus on the EHF Champions League as there are no more real opponents in the Spanish league?
Kiril Lazarov: The Spanish league is not as strong as it has been three or four years ago, but still there are some good clubs we have to be aware of. The quality of the players is still high and the Spanish youth and junior teams are among the top 4 of the world in all competitions. But indeed we have the strongest team in Spain and our ambitions are high. However, we still have to have respect for all our opponents.

eurohandball.com: Is the Barcelona squad stronger or weaker compared to last season?
Kiril Lazarov: It is hard to say at this early moment of the season. We lost Arpad Sterbik, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, so we have to see how our young new goalkeeper Vagas de Perez develops.

But on the other hand our squad has rehearsed for another year, so the experience has grown. All the players know each other much better. So maybe it is not stronger, but more efficient - I would say at this moment.

But the crucial part of the season will start after the World Championship. 15, 16 Barca players will compete in Qatar with heir national teams, and it is always decisive in which physical and mental condition they return to the club.

eurohandball.com: What are your expectations, what are the Macedonian expectations for the World Championship?
Kiril Lazarov: High, truly very high. We have a very strong team with highly experienced players. And after we faced some problems at the 2014 European Championship I hope that the time has come to show what we are capable of in Doha.

It is our clear goal to be better than at the World Championship 2013 and the EHF EURO 2014. Even though we play in a very strong group, we are confident and ambitious. I hope that - despite the distance between our country and Qatar - a lot of our fans will travel to Doha to support us. With them we are much stronger.

eurohandball.com: Is there any certain goal for the World Championship?
Kiril Lazarov: We want to go step by step and at that time it is not possible to predict a final result. But we want to use this World Championship to continue our great dream to qualify for the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio.

For generations all Macedonians have been hoping for this step, we want to make it come true now - and therefore we need a good result at the World Championship to secure a spot in the qualification tournaments.

eurohandball.com: Is the Macedonian team a Lazarov-one-man-show?
Kiril Lazarov: No, we are a team, and I'm just a part of it.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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