Wednesday, October 20

the penultimate battle of the eternal captain

  • The pandemic made him postpone the withdrawal and win a bronze that he did not have

  • The captain of Barça and the national team has added his ninth medal in a great tournament at the World Cup in Egypt

  • After equaling Barrufet’s 280 caps, the Tokyo Games will be his last goal with the Hispanics

Spanish men’s handball has not stopped reaping successes in the last decade, the last of them being bronze the World Cup in Egypt of this Sunday, and in almost all of them a name has been repeated: that of Raúl Entrerríos. The captain of Barça and the national team (Gijón, February 12, 1981) has not stopped adding titles to his record since in 2005 he participated in Tunisia in the conquest of the first world gold of the Hispanics and is already part of a legend that can still grow in the upcoming Olympics, in which he will end his career.

In Tokyo, already with 40 years, Raúl will seek his 10th medal in a major competition. He missed the gold in the 2013 World Cup because he broke his hand during preparation, but he has a Olympic bronze in Beijing-2008; two European champion titles (2018 and 2020), in addition to the silver of 2016 and the bronze of 2014, and two bronzes in the World Cup (2011 and 2021), a tournament in which it debuted in a big way in 2005 with a gold celebrated with his brother Alberto, four years older. Not only is he the only Spanish ‘survivor’ of that appointment, but in the recently concluded Egyptian tournament only Frenchman Michael Guigou (39) and Serbian goalkeeper Daniel Saric (43 years old), now enrolled in Qatar, remained.

What the national team has been doing for 20 years is very difficult to repeat AND this bronze has a very, very special flavor “He recognized this newspaper on the way to Barcelona. “For many reasons, because it is a recognition of how well the team is doing, and also on a personal level because I would not have won it if I had retired last year, as planned.”

A ‘gift’ from the pandemic

Things of fate, this medal is somehow a gift from the pandemic. Last season should be his last active before continuing his career at Barça enlisted in the coaching staff. Despite his age, his great performance already invited us to think about the possibility of continuing one more season. The olympic postponement It was definitive and stretching his career one more year has allowed him to be in Egypt.

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After hanging that unexpected bronze, he has equaled 39 years, the 280 caps with Spain of another myth, David Barrufet. In the Champions will have a revalidation to add the third with Barça (where it is also a myth with about 50 titles) after falling into the last ‘final four’, and who knows what will happen in Tokyo? “I see it a bit far away. If the pandemic has taught us something, it is to focus on the present. Before we get there, there is a lot of work with the club. I hope the Games can be held, we will see in what circumstances, because everything goes changing. Messages arrive that they will be held, hopefully so. It is clear that, if they are held, they will be different Games. ” What is clear to him is that, even if they were postponed again to the following year, this time he would not postpone the withdrawal any longer. “I did not know how or where I was going to end my career, but I was clear that I wanted to end it being competitive, contributing things. I am not a 20-year-old boy but I continue to learn and try to contribute. It is what has kept me so long.”

“It may have been the last World Championship for some colleagues. We are proud of them, for everything they have given us, and we try to get this medal for that,” he explained after the bronze. Alex Dujshebaev, one of those called to lead Hispanics in the coming years. The youngsters have been pushing hard, but Entrerríos collaborated to knock down France in the fight for bronze with four goals and pulling the team in the most complicated moments, when it seemed that the ‘bleus’ could react. When the veteran center-back made his debut in the national team, the star was Talant Dujshebaev and now his sons, Dani and Alex, are pulling the team. “Time passes, you start with some players and then you find them on the benches and other facets. It is a privilege for me, it makes me proud of my career. I have always considered myself a team player.”

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