Sun, beaches, weddings, and a bit of handball
About a month into the holidays, players are still relaxing all across Europe. Let's be honest, when you play more than 60 games a season and haven’t had a proper holiday since July last year, all you would want to do is… anything but handball-related.
But some of our EHF Champions League stars are true diehards. For instance, HBC Nantes goalkeeper Arnaud Siffert set up a handball camp in Croatia. With his usual partner in crime, Cyril Dumoulin, away at the other end of the world, Champions League finalist Siffert took time to teach Croatian goalkeepers a few tricks.
Siffert was not the only one, as Sander Sagosen, helped by a few familiar faces like Magnus Rød (from SG Flensburg-Handewitt) or Sander's girlfriend, Hanna Oftedal, went back home and set up his own camp. With, apparently, a loooot of kids, delighted to see their hero in person. It was not all work for the PSG left back, though, as he was witnessed a few days later on a beach, cruising around the Lofoten Islands.
Elsewhere it seemed like everyone was enjoying doing absolutely nothing. Well, you know, taking a dive in the sea, having fun with kids at the beach, or just in places that look like fairy-tales. And if you had a contest for the most beautiful and remote place a handball player has been this summer, here are the winners: THW Kiel's Rune Dahmke and Györ's Stine Oftedal flew away to Zanzibar. And if you look at the blue sky, you might just feel a little bit jealous...
Veszprém coach Ljubomir Vranjes didn't go that far but still enjoyed himself very much. Find a boat, put all your family on it, and there you go! Looking at those pictures, everything ran smoothly and Hungarian fans should find their coach with a nice suntan back in a few weeks.
The Karabatic brothers also had some quality family time to begin their holidays with. While Nikola is expecting his second child, Luka is still having fun with his first, bringing her to the sea for the first time. Cuteness alert!
Nikola is one of the many handball players who closely follow their country's performances at the FIFA World Cup. Former Flensburg goalkeeper Mattias Andersson has been pretty open about his Sweden support, but Nikola Karabatic has tried to involve the whole family, posting a picture of him with his son Alek in front of the TV.
Not just French men, also French women display some love for Les Bleus. The national women’s team has been following the football tournament very closely, despite being on a training week to prepare for the upcoming EHF EURO 2018. For Metz’s Grace Zaadi and Brest’s Allison Pineau, handball doesn’t matter for 90 minutes after kick-off of a World Cup game.
Far from beaches and the World Cup, some handball players have chosen to stay away from all the fuss. Kielce's Michal Jurecki went playing golf. Former Flensburg and now PSG player Henrik Toft Hansen has been nicely and sharply dressed at a wedding in Norway. And a Spanish group with Alex Dujshebaev (Kielce), Jorge Maqueda (Szeged) and Cristian Ugalde (ex-Veszprém), brought girlfriends and families to one of the Balearic Islands, just to have some quiet time and relax.
And to wrap up the week, we can’t ignore the EHF Champions League draws, which took place in Vienna on Friday. While most players seemed to be busy choosing either strawberry or vanilla ice cream for dessert, HBC Nantes fired things up early. They reminded every opponent from last season they defeated them: Zagreb, Meshkov Brest, everybody got their share, even fellow French side Paris Saint-Germain.
PS: We couldn't resist giving you this as well. Mattias Andersson. With cows. After his morning run. Anyway, see you next week!