7m | Timur Dibirov: ''New chapter in the career of one of SEHA - Gazprom League’s all-time greats''

Timur Dibirov

Fans of not only SEHA - Gazprom League, but handball fans, in general, know very well who Timur Dibirov is. He is, without a single doubt, one of the best wingers handball courts have seen in the last decade. Not only can he score from every angle but his fighting spirit and on-court presence make his teammates look much better.

A 39-year-old born winner, who is not showing any signs of slowing down any time soon, also knows what it takes to go all the way as he already has two EHF Champions League titles in his trophy cabinet as well as four SEHA - Gazprom League titles. This summer, Timur decided the time has come for a change of scenery, parting ways with Macedonian Vardar 1961 after nine amazing seasons to join Croatian champions PPD Zagreb. Because of all this, we’ve decided to talk to him about what appears to be one of the busiest summers of his life reminiscing of the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

How do you feel about the transfer to PPD Zagreb?
It was obviously a hard decision to make. I will forever love and stay connected to Skopje but at this point in my career, after everything that has happened, my goal was not only to keep playing but join a team that has everything it needs to win and I feel like this group here in Zagreb definitely has it. I know they’ve also struggled in the last few seasons but I feel like this roster has what it takes to win with Cupic, Borozan, Gojun, and Musa as well as many young players who already showed what they are capable of. The Vardar has shown everyone what can happen when you have such a wide, well-balanced roster.

Zagreb will next season have one of the best and most-decorated winger duos in the whole Europe with you on the left side and Ivan Cupic on the right. How do you feel about sharing the court with him once again?
He was one of the first people I talked to when this opportunity popped up. Of course, he was happy about me coming here and I’m looking forward to everything too. I believe we’ll work just fine together.

How was the preparation period?
Oh, I’m fine, I don’t have a problem with that. I’m healthy, physically ready and incredibly motivated for what lies ahead. I’m hyperactive but on the other side, once I realize that I can no longer keep up with the group I won’t have a problem moving to the side and letting others handle business.

Is everything ready for the match against Vojvodina?
I feel like we’ve prepared really well for the season in these last few weeks. The match is obviously coming in a bit difficult moment for us because the legs are still kind of shaky from the preparation period but we’re all excited about it. The most important thing is that we are all healthy and ready for what lies ahead. Vojvodina has a good team but our goal is to book a place in Zadar on Wednesday and we’ll do everything to accomplish that.

You definitely know what it takes to win. It is still early but, from what you’ve seen so far, how do you feel about this PPD Zagreb team?
I know a lot of players. I’ve already shared a locker room with Cupic and Borozan and of course, I know Gojun, Musa and some other more experienced players. I can already say that I’m excited about the young players PPD Zagreb has their engagement and willingness to become better on a daily basis. That’s what matters the most. I don’t want to talk about names, obviously, but I feel like some of them have the potential to build incredible careers. Now, when it comes to winning trophies, a lot of things have to come together for a team to go all the way. Zadar is no different than Cologne when it comes to that. The primary goal is of course to secure a ticket for Zadar and then when you do that, there are many teams over there who have the right to hope to go all the way. Veszprem’s roster is looking really good, Vardar, Meshkov Brest, Eurofarm Pelister, and PPD Zagreb have all managed to reinforce teams for the new season. As I said, right now we are focused on Vojvodina. The goal is to go step by step, both in SEHA - Gazprom League and EHF Champions League.

Photo credit: kolektiffimages