Luka Cindric: “My childhood dreams were fulfilled“

Luka Cindric

When the attack has problems with scoring, then Luka Cindric takes the initiative, and the team knows that they will almost certainly score a goal. For him it is easy to get through the opponent's defense, it is even easier to shoot and score, but he also wants to assist. These two seasons he is one of the main stars of his team. With Vardar winning five trophies last year, he was elected as the best handball player of the year in Croatia. A similar recognition came from fans in the EHF pools for the best player of the EHF Champions League.

This season is also among the best ones, as part of Vardar's line up in every match. Vardar have an impressive record of 17 wins in 18 matches this season, and Cindric scored 55 goals in the SEHA - Gazprom league. He is the second scorer in the current European and SEHA champion.

After three seasons in Skopje, he leaves for Kielce this summer, the former European champion. Skopje will remain in his memories as the place from which his stellar rise in handball began, where everyone learned about Cindric. But the true catapulting on the top was last year in Cologne at the F4 Tournament of the EHF Champions League.

You achieved world stardom last year in Cologne with a goal in the last second of the EHF Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. Did that goal influence your life? 
Some of my childhood dreams came to life with the goal that decided the score against the great rival. I’m very happy that everything played out the way it did. Then again, it made me a more valuable player for my National team, as well as, for the club, the coach, and the teammates. It also meant bigger confidence “

Last year and this season are the most impressive in your career so far. You won lots of trophies and individual awards, which is not as easy as it seems. 
It was a year of my dreams. In short period I won lots of awards, and additionally, as a player, I’m getting better with every new season. All of these trophies and individual awards are a great incentive for further growth.

The big question is can Vardar defend all last season titles, including the one from Brest in the SEHA – Gazprom League?
Of course, we can. That is our goal since the beginning of the season. There is no reason for us not to behave accordingly. We were first in our group in the EHF Champions League, and also after regular part of the SEHA – Gazprom League. I believe that we will accomplish at least half of last season – win the SEHA - Gazprom League and the EHF Champions League titles. Of course, the titles might be a bit more difficult to win this season because the rivals now know that we are a very serious opponent, while last season we were outsiders. But meanwhile, we showed them how serious we are, that we are worth the effort and that we know how.

Skopje will host the SEHA – Gazprom League Final 4. The pressure builds up and everybody expects the new trophy.
We are glad to play such important matches in front of the home fans. Everyone expects from us to win the title, and it will be exciting. Final 4 is always tense, but it’s a great overture for the upcoming matches in the EHF Champions League. 

Only Meshkov Brest managed to get points from Vardar this season. They are always a strong and unpredictable rival, and you play with them in the semifinal.
It’s a well-known rival, and it won’t be easy because they are a great team. We have time to prepare, to go over some mistakes and to bring the game level up. I know that coach Raul will do well. 

Read the rest of the big interview with the fantastic Luka Cindric in our printed magazine, which is going to be out soon!