"Winning in Cologne is anything but simple," says RutenkaArticle
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INTERVIEW: Five-time champion not getting ahead of himself in his hunt for number six at the VELUX EHF FINAL4

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Men's News

"Winning in Cologne is anything but simple," says Rutenka

Siarhei Rutenka is the most successful active player in the EHF Champions League with five titles spead across his tme with Celje, Cuidad Real and FC Barcelona, and many expect him to take title number six this weekend at the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

The versatile back court player spoke to ehfCL.com ahead of the trip to Cologne about emulating the very best, sharing court time in a star-studded team and the unpredictable nature of the two-day handball extravaganza.

ehfCL.com: You have won five EHF Champions League titles with three different teams, but lie behind greats like Barrufet, O'Callaghan and Xepkin on seven. Do you still have the drive to match them?

Siarhei Rutenka: I have not tired. Every season I am very excited, because I do not like living in the past and therefore I have all the enthusiasm in the world and a desire to win it another time.

My goal while I am playing in Barça is to be at the highest level and win every trophy. If I win the same amount of titles as these players I will be happy, but I will not say that this is my goal. Currently, I do not think it, when I finish my career we will talk about it.

ehfCL.com: How do you feel about your time at Barca in comparison to other clubs?

Siarhei Rutenka: Barça is the best club. I completely agree with the club’s slogan “More than a club”. There are many players who live as a family and this impressed me from the beginning. I have very good memories of all clubs I stayed at, but they were only handball clubs.

I don’t want to belittle the other teams, but here there is football, futsal, basketball, roller hockey, handball and everyone is always in touch. When a team wins, we celebrate it together, and when there are hard times they support you. It is a very huge family of many sports. It is the big difference with the other teams.

ehfCL.com: Barça’s Dream Team was the best team in the history of the sport. Does this team think they can emulate them?

Siarhei Rutenka: Our goal is to fight for all competitions that we compete. The Dream Team is an example for all sports, not only for handball. If we can achieve this level of success we’ll be very happy. We will do everything to overcome that team, but will not be easy.

From my point of view is better not to think about it. We must go game by game and do everything right. At the end of the season is when you have to look back and see if you had done well. When you live the present is not good to think about this. In the future hopefully we can say that we have done as well as the Dream Team.

ehfCL.com: You are a left back, but this season we've seen you in the a number of positions. Was it hard to adapt to these new roles?

Siarhei Rutenka: If the coach trusts me to play in positions that are not usual for me, I want to play the best way to get back his confidence. I like being on the court and I don’t care where I play.

ehfCL.com: On a team with so many handball stars, it’s impossible for all the players to play all the time. Does this bring about any problems?

Siarhei Rutenka: I am very happy because I have not noticed this on the team. There is a good atmosphere with good people and I think that there will be no problems. I learned this with my step from Celje to Ciudad Real. In Celje I played all the time and that changed in Ciudad Real because there were many stars. Now none of this is new to me, I understand it and accept it. Furthermore, it is good to compete in the training sessions and prepare well for the most important games. I only see positive things.

ehfCL.com: In the second leg against Rhein-Neckar Löwen at Palau Blaugrana, when did you feel that you could make a comeback?

Siarhei Rutenka: Two days before the game I couldn’t sleep with the desire to play that match. During the game I knew it from the beginning to the end. But then when I saw the game on TV, with only 10 minutes left and we were winning only for 3 goals, if I was spectator I would have thought it was impossible to come back, but we did it.

ehfCL.com: You’re the favourites to win the Champions League. Have you got pressure to win it?

Siarhei Rutenka: We are not afraid to accept the role of favourite, but we have to be very cautious. In a FINAL4 it is anything but simple. Last year Hamburg unexpectedly won. These are different kind of matches in only two days. If you hit the post only one time, you can lose. And we can fail because we are not machines. For spectators it is a great show because anything can happen.

ehfCL.com: You have the desire to revenge against Kiel in the Final?

Siarhei Rutenka: We want to be in the Final. Veszprem and Kiel are very strong and play very well. In the dressing room we are not thinking about revenge for 2010. If we qualify and Kiel will qualify as well, then it may cross our minds.

ehfCL.com: Your contract with Barça ends in 2016, but you have received some offers. Will you still be at the club next season?

Siarhei Rutenka: I'd like to fulfil my contract to the end. Yes, I had some offers, but I think it is normal that arrives it deals for a team with very good players. But I don’t want to change to another team.

TEXT: Adria Barrio / cor