Császár gunning for trophies with PSGArticle
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INTERVIEW: Hungarian centre back speaks to ehfCL.com about how happy and optimistic he is about his return to France

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Men's News

Császár gunning for trophies with PSG

After spending three years in Veszprém, Gábor Császár returns to France, to play with the PSG. He will come together again with coach Philippe Gardent, who he worked with in Chambéry four years ago. The 29-year-old gives ehfCL.com his first impressions of his new club:

ehfCL.com: Gabor, how are you adapting to your new team?

Gábor Császár: My teammates are very nice to me, we’re helping each other a lot since we all come from different places. We’re very focused in training and working twice as hard to adapt to each other. We’re all very different, culture-wise or handball-wise so everything doesn’t come naturally, we’ve got to work a lot.

ehfCL.com: Why did you choose to come to Paris when you seemed to have everything you wanted in Veszprém?

Gábor Császár: It’s been three years since I moved back to Hungary. Before that, I’d spent three years abroad in Denmark and in Chambéry. In Hungary I had some good and some bad moments.

I think I missed being abroad. If I had stayed in Veszprém this summer, I think I would have stayed there forever. I’ve reached the age where I’ve got to make decisions and if I had signed again in Hungary, some other things might have prevented me from leaving again.

PSG have got a very strong team, it’s a massive challenge for me. Veszprém was one as well, but maybe not as big and as strange as it may sound, it really really wanted to learn French.

The year and a half that I spent in Chambéry didn’t allow me to have a proper conversation in French and it’s still a regret of mine. Moreover, being in a different country is important for my mentality.

Of course being away from Hungary, from my loved ones can break my heart at times, but it’s very important to open yourself to others, to discover some new things, and coming to Paris and meeting all these players from different horizons will be a benefit for me.

ehfCL.com: You’ve worked with Antonio Ortega in Veszprém last season, what are the differences between him and Philippe Gardent, PSG’s coach?

Gábor Császár: All coaches are different. Ortega was a very tough one. He’d been to Barcelona before and you could feel he wanted us to be disciplined, that he wanted everything to be as clean as possible. Philippe has been world champion in 1995, he’s had many successes as a player.

Be it Gardent or Ortega, players trust them because they’ve proved a lot when they were players themselves. We’re a little bit more free in the game with Philippe, even though it’s just a slight difference.

ehfCL.com: You’ve already played in one of Europe’s top teams, how do you rank Paris among those top teams?

Gábor Császár: I think we have the chance to go to Cologne if we’re lucky. It’s a major chance for me to be a part of this project and everything here is already in its right place.

If you only look at the Champions League, the strongest team in our group remains Barcelona, but we’re not far behind. We just have more new players to settle in, but the difference will be hardly visible by the beginning of the second half of the season.

ehfCL.com: Speaking of that, what are the aims of the PSG this year?

Gábor Császár: I think we have to win the French league, even if it will be a lot tougher than it seems. Opponents are getting stronger every year, and when you are in the strongest team, everybody wants to defeat you, so you can’t relax.

There are two cups in France, so to win them is also an aim, especially since the club didn’t win any last year.

Regarding the Champions League, I think aiming for the FINAL4 is realistic, and if we don’t succeed this season, then we’ll have to reach it next year, or the year after.

ehfCL.com: In Hungary, you’ve had the experience of being the favourite constantly, in the league or in the Champions League. Do you think it can be an advantage?

Gábor Császár: I think every player needs this experience. When you are young, being the favourite can make you weaker in a way. The older you get, the more it becomes a strength. A lot of players in the PSG squad are used to be favourites and of getting to the point. They don’t shake in key moments. If I want to get to the FINAL4, and that’s my dream, I’ll have to support this pressure anyway.

ehfCL.com: You have played against Veszprém a couple of times this summer, how did you feel on the court?

Gábor Császár: It was strange! All these guys I know very well, some are very good friends, so it took a while. It reminded me of Veszprém’s trainings at some points! It’s good that we’ve managed to finally beat them at the end of the summer; it shows that if we work collectively then we can progress and achieve great things.

ehfCL.com: There will be a lot of players on the backcourt in Paris this season. Does it scare you?

Gábor Császár: No, because if everyone’s on the same level, then we will be able to make rotations and the team will be the winner in all of this. I think that, position by position, PSG isn’t far from having the best seven players in Europe. Now, for these seven players to be effective there has to be seven others behind, ready to take their place whenever it’s needed.

It’s a good competition, but it’s also really important for the future, because we’ll have to step up our game individually and to progress.

Photo credits: Jérémie Haeusser / PSG Handball

TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor