Martim Costa: “We can go very far in this competition”
Sporting CP, a Portuguese team full of tradition, are in the EHF European League Men for a fourth consecutive season. In the first two years Sporting CP fell in the Last 16 by one goal, against SC Magdeburg and Orlen Wisla Plock.
Last season, the lions went further, but Montpellier HB did not allow the team led by Ricardo Costa to reach the EHF Finals. Once again, Sporting CP were eliminated from the competition by a single goal.
So, in the 2023/24 season, the Portuguese side will play in the EHF European League with great ambition as always and lots of experience, with the main goal of being national champions, a title that has escaped them since 2017/18.
“That's the big focus. But here in the EHF European League I feel that we also have the conditions to go very far in this competition. We want to reach the EHF Finals, we know it's not easy, but we have a lot of quality to aspire that, we're going to give everything until the end,” says left back Martim Costa.
The 20-year-old is one of the main players for Sporting, alongside his younger brother, right back Francisco, or 'Kiko'. Last season, Martim scored a huge 102 goals across the European League season, putting him second in the top-scorer rankings; Francisco was fifth with 95 goals.
The Costa brothers have also become mainstays in the Portuguese national teams, both at younger age category level and senior. They drove Portugal to M20 EHF EURO silver last year and were named in the All-star Team of the tournament, and both contributed to Portugal's qualification for the Men's EHF EURO 2024.
Martim Costa acknowledges the importance of Sporting CP and his father and coach, Ricardo Costa, in his growth as an athlete.
“Sporting CP had a huge impact on my development. I've been here for three years. I played a lot of games in European competitions, played against great teams, and I always felt very welcome here at the club. And, of course, my father has always trained me since I was a child, I went to the pavilions with him and I always learned a lot from him,” Costa said.
In Sporting CP's first game this season in the Portuguese championship, against big rivals SL Benfica, Costa scored 15 goals.
“I'm a brave player, I have no problems promoting contact, I consider myself very strong in one-against-one. I also know how to shoot from the outside and I think I'm a complete player,” says the young Portuguese player, whose mental strength is another key asset.
Sporting CP are in group H of the EHF European League with Hungarian club MOL Tatabanya KC, Poland’s KGHM Chrobry Glogow, and Romania’s CSM Constanta, a team that created shockwaves as they defeated last year’s finalists Fraikin BM. Granollers in the qualification round.
“They are three teams with a lot of quality, without a doubt. Tatabanya is a very good team, they have reinforced themselves very well and will be a very difficult opponent. But looking at all the opponents in the group in general, there are no easy games in this competition. We have to take all the matches with the utmost seriousness,” says Costa.
Asked what will make a difference for Sporting CP in the EHF European League, Costa is quick to answer.
“We are a fearless and courageous team. Regardless of the opponents, we are not afraid to play to win. We have a lot of collective quality and a lot of talent in the team. We always try to fight in every game”, he concludes.
Photo © Sporting CP