Solé: "These matches will be the most important of our careers"
At only 23 years of age, Ferran Solé is already a key player for Fraikin BM. Granollers. He is one of the best Spanish young talents his name is one to remember.
"Honestly, I have not even imagined playing the EHF Cup Finals because for us the highest goal was reaching the quarter-finals. The group phase was very hard with Magdeburg and Aalborg. But we had the experience of last year when we finished in second position and were eliminated nevertheless," the right wing recalls.
Indeed, in the 2014/15 season, Granollers finished their group in second place, but as there were only three quarter-finals with host Berlin qualifying directly for the final tournament, Solé and his team missed this opportunity. This taught them a lesson for this season.
Solé says of the EHF Cup Finals: "The moment we play these games is very different from the other European finals of Granollers so far. The club has gone through very difficult times with a state of insolvency, and it seemed very difficult that Granollers could play finals like this again.
"For that reason, I think the matches of these EHF Cup Finals will be the most important of our careers."
Granollers will play against the HBC Nantes in the semi-final. The French team and hosts have Spanish players in their roster who know Granollers very well - David Balaguer, Alberto Entrerrios and Valero Rivera.
"Apart from the good level Nantes have, they also have players who know us very well such as Mathias Schulz, Rodrigo Salinas or David Balaguer who played in the Asobal league. Against this team we lose the surprise factor because we know each other better than the other teams," the winger explains.
Granollers sweated a lot in every round. In the group phase they were leading the group in the last game, but surprisingly Aalborg Handball were leading in Granollers most of thetime, and the Catalan team had to score in the last second to tie the game (24:24) and qualify as second.
And in the quarter-finals, they were almost eliminated as well, when Granollers had a six-goal win at home but lost by six goals away against Bjerringbro-Silkeborg, progressing on the away goals rule.
"We don’t like to suffer to win, but it’s true that these kinds of victories have a very good taste. These results are a sign of equality of the competition. All of the teams which have reached the finals have a very high level and I think it is very balanced and nice," says Solé.
Granollers is a semi-professional team, because there are only a few players who can live only off their handball salary.
"All the teams of the EHF Cup could beat us, because player by player they are better than us, but in these games you have to play as a team and not individually. We always joke because we played against world stars and beat them. We have a young group and we have great enthusiasm," Solé goes on.
"For me, this is my best season. I don’t know if I consider myself a leader on the court, but I like to help the team when in need. I have always marked short-term goals, if you would have asked me five years ago if I would be where I am now, I would have said it's impossible.
"My intention is only to play handball as long as I can, but I did a master degree in industrial engineering, because I know I can't play handball all my life. I want to play until my body stops," Solé says.
Ferran Solé played in the underage Spanish national team and it seems to be only a matter of time until he will join the senior team now.
"To join the Spanish team is a long-term goal, but I must do everything to get there. To play in the national team is the greatest honour an athlete can aspire to, but I’m not obsessed with it now."
TEXT: Adria Barrio / es, cor