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22.12.2015, 11:42
Kiril Lazarov, any goalkeeper’s biggest nightmare
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EHF EURO KEY PLAYERS: Praises come in plenty for Kiril Lazarov who will once more be the player to carry the hopes of FYR Macedonia and the fans of this handball-mad nation
 

Kiril Lazarov, any goalkeeper’s biggest nightmare

When it comes to the question who is the world’s best goal machine, the answer is clear and all the credits go a Macedonian: Kiril Lazarov.

It is not a secret that at the age of 35 he is still one of the biggest nightmares that handball goalkeepers have been facing throughout the years.

His talent was noticeable when he was still a teenager, but what made him succeed was most of all his character and his persistence to accomplish things. Thanks to what he has achieved in handball, he is considered the nation’s best ambassador.

With 47 trophies and several other individual prizes to his name, the Macedonian is not just the most successful handball player in the country, but also he has also been belonging to the top handball players in the world for many years.

From the unknown to the top

Being the son of a handball player, it was quite certain that Kiril Lazarov would make his steps in handball.

“I know Kiril from the very beginning when he played in Ovche Pole and I knew that he would become a big player one day,” says Lazarov’s former Macedonian teammate Stevche Alushovski.

“He was good from the start and he managed to progress from a good right wing to one of the best right backs in the world.“

After having started his career in his native country, the first international transfer to Zagreb, back then  coached by Lino Cervar, was a priceless development for Lazarov and catapulted him into the top of handball.

“I was his first foreign coach and I know him from his very beginnings.  He is a real example for all the other players on how you can prolong your handball life and stay at the top.

“Some players get very tired from victories but he’s the opposite. The older he gets the hungrier he is for new titles,” says Lino Cervar, the current coach of Skopje club Metalurg.

From Zagreb Kiril Lazarov went to Veszprem and to Madrid, only to add more titles to his name. However, it was only at his current club, FC Barcelona, and in 2015 that he eventually won the titel he really longed for: the VELUX EHF Champion League. Furthermore it was in the Barcelona jersey that he became the first player who scored 1,000 goals in European Cup competitions.

“I’m not surprised about his goal record. He is an example of how someone should livee from sport and live for the sport,” adds Lino Cervar.

National team at the highest priority

Lazarov had his debut for the Macedonian national team at the age of 18 and for more than decade now he is considered the team’s leader.

In 2009 he became the top scorer at the World Championship in Croatia, being unstoppable with 92 goals, and three years later he achieved the same feat, when he scored 61 times at the EHF EURO in Serbia, leading FYR Macedonia to a historical fifth place.

“His achievements in handball are well known and that is why it is an enormous value to have Kiril in the squad because his dedication at training and games is fantastic. His role in the national team is huge. He is a born leader and a professional whose will power is incomparable,” says Zvonko Shundovski, his national team coach at the EHF EURO 2012.

Secret of success

Everybody agrees that the key to Kiril Lazarov’s success is the hard work he puts in and the passion he has for handball.

“Talent is only worth 5 per cent, the rest is dedication and hard work,” says dedication

“He is a role model of how a handball player should look like. He is really talented but he is also a product of perseverance, creativity, patience and a winning character. He is gifted with a winning mentality and a fast mind with which he decides some situations,” says Lino Cervar

“Lazarov is the biggest handball player that I have trained. I usually don’t single out players because for me the team is more important, but Kiril is an exception to this rule.”


TEXT: Amina Idrizi / ts
 
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