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16.03.2016, 14:30
Corralles: "In the end it is just you against the ball"
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FEAURE: Plock's analysis-loving goalkeeper speaks about preparing for the biggest clash of the season against Vardar and his big move away from Poland in 2017
 

Corralles: "In the end it is just you against the ball"

“On the court as in life – it’s good to have convictions you can stick too,” says Orlen Wisla Plock goalkeeper Rodrigo Corrales. A few years ago he took a risk and left Barcelona in search of experience. After a spell in Huesca he decided to move abroad to the Polish club which gave him an opportunity to play in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Soon he became a star in Plock, which led him to be noticed by Paris Saint-Germain and he will join them in the summer of 2017.

But still he has some decisive moments in Plock ahead, facing HC Vardar in the Last 16 and deciding what to do next season.

Today the ambitious player shared with ehfCL.com his memories from Barcelona, the secrets of his training and his opinion about Manolo Cadenas. He explains the magic of cheat sheets and proves that analysis is a huge part not only of his job on the court but also of his private life.

ehfCL.com: Sunday’s victory against Kielce cost you lot of effort, but in the end it seems that it gave you crucial mental strength.

Rodrigo Corrales: Exactly! Maybe in case of our physical condition it wasn’t good to have such an exhausting game only three days ahead of Vardar. We need to get back on our feet now. But it built our self-confidence and we have to use it now in a proper way to earn the best result against Vardar.

ehfCL.com: Why is there such big dissonance between Wisla’s performances and the results on paper?

Rodrigo Corrales: This season the Champions League is more complicated than last year. Actually the contest is getting harder and harder each year. In both Groups A and B there are great teams. Many of them used to be in FINAL4 previously and the others are firm candidates to be there.

We are not the biggest club in Europe and when you face such teams you know that your results may not look good in the end. Actually, maybe with more luck in the end we could have three points more in the group, but the most important thing is that we advanced and now we are playing against Vardar.

ehfCL.com: Will you be ready this time to reach the quarter-finals?

Rodrigo Corrales: Our ambition right now at this stage is to win. We have two games and nothing to lose. We will show our best handball in order to pass through. Of course, we know what team we are playing against and first of all we know how it is to play in their arena, we experienced this last year. We expect at least the same difficulty, that’s why we need to focus on gaining some advantage in Plock if possible.

ehfCL.com: The club has an unstable personnel situation. The fluctuations each season are huge and also you came to Plock in 2014 as one of six new faces. How do you remember that time?

Rodrigo Corrales: I came to Plock because they gave me the opportunity to play in the Champions League. You can think that it was a big change for me, because I spent previous years in Spain and that was my first move abroad. But actually in Spain I was living away from home since I was 15, so it wasn’t such a big deal.

When you begin in a new place the days are passing by so quickly because you are enjoying a new experience. I had amazing people around me, so in this way it was really easy.

ehfCL.com: Were you not afraid to leave a club like Barcelona?

Rodrigo Corrales: No, Barca is a great club with great players. In that time I was too young and too inexperienced to play there. I left them in the age of 21 to look for experience. It’s really important for the young player to face bigger responsibility performing as the first goalkeeper. In those times I had no chances to play like this as they had Daniel Saric and Johan Sjöstrand.

ehfCL.com: Do you remember Manolo Cadenas in Barca?

Rodrigo Corrales: When he came to Barcelona I was 16 or 17, so I wasn’t even in the second team. I didn’t spend much time with him, but what I remembered, he always liked young players. Any time there was an opportunity, he took us to the training sessions of the first team. He wanted to figure out what players he had in the background and to put ambitions in our heads.

ehfCL.com: Now he is doing great job for Plock, but he’s going to leave the club after the season.

Rodrigo Corrales: Manolo almost died for this club! He gave all of himself for Plock, all his experience. Wisla chose him to make Plock more competitive in Europe and I think he did it. I don’t know all the history of the club, but looking at last three years, it’s always present in the Champions League. Now, we even won against Kielce. But I’m sure the new coach will come with same high ambitions.

ehfCL.com: This season you are in great shape. How do you work on yourself? I know that you love analysis.

Rodrigo Corrales: I need to be in a good shape of course, but I need to learn how particular players like to shoot. Now the games are so fast that you don’t have a time to see where the ball comes from, you don’t have time to analyse anything. That’s why all the information you collect before is very helpful.

When the ball is driving towards the goal, it passes the shooters, defenders, the space between you and them but in the end it is just you against the ball. Yeah, okay, maybe sometimes the posts or crossbar is your mate and can help you, but in many situations you stay alone with responsibility.

The information gives you confidence in the moments of doubt. It’s like in life – it’s better to have some convictions you can stick to, because in a hard situation you can just blindly choose one direction. In hot situations on the court I can’t just wait and react when I see the ball, because it’s already too late.

ehfCL.com: You have cheat sheets in your pocket right before the first whistle, right?

Rodrigo Corrales: Yes, I like noting down on paper the ideas I have in case of doubt. I note the players’ shooting preferences. It helps me to stay focused on the game but also it proves me that I did everything I could to prepare myself. It’s just a mental thing. But when the match starts, I give it to the goalkeeper coach.


Rodrigo Corrales : "c'est merveilleux" von ParisSaintGermainHandball

ehfCL.com: You signed a contract with Paris Saint-Germain, but for the 2017/2018 season. What are your plans for the next year?

Rodrigo Corrales: I don’t know really. This matter needs some time, I will definitely not know the answer tomorrow. Honestly. Now I still have good games ahead of me here in Plock, I want to enjoy them and stay focused.

ehfCL.com: What did PSG tempt you with?

Rodrigo Corrales: When you receive an offer, you need to analyse what it will bring to your life. Paris is a big step for me, their project interests me. They have great players and I would like to improve by their side. They have a great coach and professional backroom staff. Of course Paris is also a nice city to live. When they called me I had to say yes.


TEXT: Magda Pluszewska / cor
 
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