"I have trained very hard and I am ready for it," says HombradosArticle
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Atlético goalkeeper speaks to ehfCL.com about his speedy return to fitness and helping his team in the Match of the Week

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"I have trained very hard and I am ready for it," says Hombrados

As arguably the tightest pairing of the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16, Atlético Madrid and Füchse Berlin was an intriguing tie to begin with. However, the surprising comeback of goalkeeper and captain of the Madrid team, Javier Hombrados, from his ACL rupture two months before expected has added even more interest to the encounter.

Hombrados spoke to ehfCL.com about the injury, his fast recovery, the second match against the German club and much more.

ehfCL.com: What went through your mind when you saw all the fans cheering for you on your comeback?

Javier Hombrados: I felt something big inside. That people want to see you back and that they are very happy for that tells me a lot. I have always realised fans at Atlético love me and so I just felt great.

ehfCL.com: This could be your last season (Hombrados intends to become next Spanish Handball Federation president next April). Did you ever think you might not get fit in time?

Javier Hombrados: Absolutely not. Everything went just fine from the beginning and so I have been only working to be ready before than expected.

ehfCL.com: What has been your recovery workout? Has there been a mental/psychological component in it?

Javier Hombrados: Mainly gym sessions. Many hours there, working hard to get back all the muscles into shape.

But I have to say a big thank you to the physiotherapists in the club, who have really been following my progress on a daily basis. They are the responsible ones for the shortening of this period.

The mental component is the team is not having a pleasant time right now and that really put me under pressure to try get back earlier.

ehfCL.com: Is this your first main injury in your career as a handball goalkeeper?

Javier Hombrados: This is my 23rd season as a professional, and I have to say yes. I had some minor injuries with my fingers once or twice but nothing really serious until this happened.

ehfCL.com: First Barrufet left, now it may soon be you. Who will be left in goal?

Javier Hombrados: There will always be somebody else people will talk about. For instance, at Madrid I really believe a tremendous future awaits Antonio Díez.

ehfCL.com: Talking about future, you may leave handball as a player but then you could soon become the head of the Spanish Handball Federation. Are things running too fast?

Javier Hombrados: You may say so. First I got injured, then this possibility about the Federation came out, then I get back to try to help my team and voting is just around the corner.

Things are happening fast, but I am really excited with the idea of doing big things for our sport. If I don’t succeed then my idea is to keep on playing, but we will have to wait and see what happens.

ehfCL.com: Back to the VELUX EHF Champions League. Before the first match against Füchse you talked about maybe going out and try to save one or two seven metres, but now this is something very different. The score is for the match in Berlin. Are you ready to go into the court in any moment of the game?

Javier Hombrados: My idea is to try to add positive things to our team, to help Magnus Dahl, who last week played a fantastic first half, when he may need me.

Ok, maybe an extra couple of weeks would have been perfect but I have trained very hard and I am ready for it.

Although I have not played in five months, goalkeeping is not that complex. I think it is like riding a bicycle, you never forget.

ehfCL.com: Finally, what does Atlético need to do to win against Füchse?

Javier Hombrados: To defend really hard and to play our fast break as only we know. We also need Silvio (Heinevetter) to not be at his best.

They have a terrific team and will receive all the support from their public. I don’t feel we have to try to keep a low score to have the advantage in case we draw the match. I am sure we will need to beat them by more than one goal if we really want to get through. 

Further information:
The ehfTV.com Match of the Week between Füchse Berlin and Atlético Madrid with commentary of Tom Ó Brannagáin will be streamed live on ehfTV on Sunday, 24 March at 18:00 CET.

TEXT: Francisco Lasheras / cor