EHF European Cup 2017/18 - Article - Almeida aiming for the finals again
08.02.2018, 18:31◄ last page     

INTERVIEW: Brazilian Goalkeeper César ‘Bombom’ Almeida has his eyes on emulating Granollers' EHF Cup run two years ago

Almeida aiming for the finals again

Fraikin BM. Granollers have become regulars in the Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase and this weekend will see them become the only club to reach this stage of the competition four seasons in a row (2014/2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018).

Brazilian Goalkeeper César ‘Bombom’ Almeida was in the squad for the club’s run to the EHF Cup Finals two years ago and is back this season after a sejourn in Norway.

“We are a really competitive team and, in our city, everyone breathes handball. Maybe this is the reason for our accomplishments,” says Almeida.

This Saturday the Spanish team face Chambery Savole Mont Blanc Handball their first game of the Group Phase. Their goal is to leave France with a victory and to start the group on the right foot.

“Chambery are a great team and already had a tough test in Round 3 against Tatabanya. We need to get some points there and that is our goal,” explains ‘Bombom’ adding that players like Niko Mindegia, Amine Bannour, Fahrudin Melic, Yann Genty and Jullien Meyer will be important for Chambery.

Dreaming of the EHF Cup Finals

In 2015/16, Almeida and Granollers lost to hosts HBC Nantes 27:26 in the semi-final of the competition, but bounced back the following day to beat Chambery 25:21 to claim bronze.

“This will be my second EHF Cup Group Phase. We already played the Finals and we know it will be hard to repeat that accomplishment, but we want to get there again.

“Our group is really balanced and even more so without a German club in it.”

The European journey

The 29-year-old started playing handball at the age of 13, but moved to Europe 11 years later after falling in love with the sport to “have a different handball experience and play in the best competitions with the best players.”

At first, he played two years at Guadalajara and then one year at Granollers. After that, Almeida went to Norway to play for ØIF Arendal.

“The experience in Norway was really good. Their culture is really different from the Brazil in sports and in the daily life but it’s the most beautiful country I visited. The fans were also very passionate.”

However, the Norway experience only lasted one season and Almeida returned to Spain and to Granollers: “I really liked my first year at Granollers and finishing third in the EHF Cup was one of the reasons why I came back.”

The ever-ambitious Almeida and Granollers visit Chambery on Saturday 10 February, live on at 20:45 CET.

TEXT: Filipa Sousa / cor

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