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22.05.2015, 12:00
I am not cursed, Sigurdsson says
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INTERVIEW: Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson will play his fifth VELUX EHF FINAL4 with his fourth club at the end of May – and is still waiting for his first trophy.
 

I am not cursed, Sigurdsson says

“I was sure you would call me because of this crazy story, but I am not cursed,” said Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson when ehfCL.com phoned the Barcelona left wing for this interview. 

The Icelandic record international and top scorer of the national team is a special part of VELUX EHF FINAL4 history: on 30/31 May he will be part of the event for the fifth consecutive time, with his fourth club – Rhein Neckar Löwen (2011), AG Kobenhavn (2012), THW Kiel (2013, 2014) and now FC Barcelona.

The unlucky part of the story: Sigurdsson has never won the trophy.

ehfcl.com: What is the difference with Barcelona this year?

Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson: Nothing! Like in all clubs before we will have an intense preparation and the goal always remains the same: winning the trophy!

ehfcl.com: Are Barcelona the major favourite this time?

Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson: I believe the expectations in Barcelona are the same as in Kiel: You travel to Cologne to stand on the winners’ podium on Sunday evening. 

The FINAL4 event is comparable to a final weekend of European or World Championships or Olympic Games thanks to the atmosphere and the collection of stars. And this year the FINAL4 is studded better than ever with the four group winners, the four best European teams. 

All participants deserve to be part of the event, all have made it that far and all want to win the title. This year we will see an incredibly high level!

ehfcl.com: In the semi-final Barcelona will face Kielce – a lucky draw?

Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson: There are no lucky or unlucky lots in a semi-final draw of the EHF Champions League. Anyone that believes Kielce are an easy opponent is completely wrong and should just have a look at the development of this team and at the highly-experienced squad. You have lost in advance if you underestimate them. 

Our focus during the whole preparation has only been on Kielce – nobody in our team or the whole of the club has any thought of what might be on the final day of the FINAL4. Kielce are a physically strong team, and we must fully concentrate on their advantages. We have to keep our feet on the floor and our heads free – then we have a chance to make it to the final.

ehfcl.com: Four times you had been on court at the FINAL4, only once you made it to the final, and you have never taken the trophy – is this event a trauma for you?

Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson: I don’t think I am cursed! I always believe that I will win this trophy once in my life. Last year’s final defeat against Flensburg was really bitter. We played on a high level, but Flensburg deserved to win. But this year I arrive in Cologne to win it finally!

ehfCL.com: What makes the VELUX EHF FINAL4 so special?

Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson: The event has grown year by year. Everything gets better every year, including the conditions for the players like hotels and food. 

The atmosphere in the arena is simply incredible. Even though all players have a lot of appointments off the court during a time when you want to prepare for the match, we all know this belongs to the event. 

The most special part of the FINAL4 is the growing international interest. For example in Iceland, everybody is interested in this event. All of Europe wants to be in Cologne for this special weekend.

ehfcl.com: It’s been nine months – how have you settled in Barcelona?

Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson: It was a great switch for me and my family after twelve years in Germany and one year in Denmark. There, I could organise everything on my own. In Barcelona I had to learn the language and needed help for everyday things. 

Me and my family started from zero, but we had known this before. Now we have settled, we managed it – our children like it in Barcelona.

ehfcl.com: And from the handball point of view?

Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson: Of course it is a major difference to play in the Spanish league compared to the German league – we have no equal opponent. But to be 100 per cent fit for the Champions League we train extremely hard in an extremely professional way. 

Even when we are clearly ahead in a match, we put the pedal to the metal for 60 minutes – you need an attitude like this to keep the rhythm. We all have the same goal – to win the Champions League and therefore, we work really hard. 


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cg
 
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