Jicha: “Wearing this jersey makes me feel proud”Article
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INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: Barcelona’s new arrival Filip Jicha on his start at the defending VELUX EHF Champions League champions and the major differences from Kiel

»EHF CL Channel »2015-16 Men's News

Jicha: “Wearing this jersey makes me feel proud”

Despite a valid contract until 2016, Filip Jicha changed his jersey in August, transferring from THW Kiel to FC Barcelona, where he signed a four-year contract.

At the defending VELUX EHF Champions League champions the 33-year-old Czech international is seen as the replacement to his predecessor in Kiel, Nikola Karabatic, who left for PSG Paris.

In this ehfcl.com Interview of the Week the two-time VELUX EHF Champions League winner and 2010 World Handball Player of the year explains the reasons for his transfer, his start in Barcelona, his long-term injury and the major differences from playing in Germany and in Spain.

ehfCL.com: A month ago you transferred from Kiel to Barcelona - did you have the time to settle so far?

Filip Jicha: If you ask me, if I could stroll around a little in Barcelona, then the clear answer is no. I was only three weeks in Barcelona, in between we left for one week to play at the Super Globe in Qatar, and before everything had to be solved very quickly. In addition, I arrived with a long-term pelvic injury in Barcelona, hence I spent most of the time in therapy and individual training. But as this injury occurs quite often in football, the medical department of FC Barcelona have experts and specialists on hand, so they were well prepared.

ehfCL.com: Did your family join you?

Yes, my daughter had her first day at the primary school on 9 September, so a lot of things needed to be arranged prior to my departure to Doha. Unfortunately, I was at Qatar, when she started school. And as I do not speak Spanish or Catalan, things were not that easy at the start.

ehfCL.com: Do you live in a flat or still in the hotel?

In the beginning, we were in a hotel, but now we live in a flat outside of Barcelona. I am not a city dweller. Even in Kiel, I lived outside the town centre.

ehfCL.com: How is your return from injury going?

At the moment it is really nice to play handball again, I didn’t have a feeling like this for quite some time because of my injury. It is getting better and better every day thanks to my therapy and individual training. I have to be patient, but I am sure that my old form will return soon.

Filip Jicha treballant en la seva recuperació / Working on his rehab #fcbhandbol #fcbarcelona #handball #handbol #balonmano #playhandbol #fcbseccions

Posted by FCB Handbol on Friday, 28 August 2015

ehfCL.com: In terms of handball, what are the major differences in Barcelona when compared to Kiel?

Both clubs - two of the best in the world - have the same ambitions and goals, to win all potential titles. In addition, this very special winning mentality is the same. But despite this fact, both clubs are worlds apart. It is a huge honour for me to play for Barcelona, for this club, to wear this jersey makes me feel proud. And you learn quite quickly what it means to be part of this special club, how to behave, when wearing this jersey.

ehfCL.com: When you think back to one year ago could you have imagined yourself to be wearing any other jersey than Kiel’s?

Sport and life are unpredictable. To be honest one year ago, I really couldn’t imagine myself wearing another jersey, I thought I would be with Kiel until the end of my career, but such is life.

ehfCL.com: If you compare the general situation of playing in the German and Spanish national leagues, can you now completely focus on the VELUX EHF Champions League?

The difference is huge, but one should not think that we do not take those domestic seriously. It is the trade mark of FC Barcelona to put the pedal to the metal in any match, regardless the intermediate result. This is part of playing for Barcelona, you always have to wear this jersey with pride. But the general load is different, when you compare Barcelona to Kiel: When we came back from Doha, staff told me that I will not play so I can recover completely. In Germany, this is impossible; this was one of the reasons for my transfer.

ehfCL.com: You have won the EHF Champions League twice with THW Kiel, now you are with the defending VELUX EHF Champions League champions. Did you expect that loss in the opener to Rhein Neckar Löwen?

I am sure that many more teams will lose to Löwen. We had our chances to win, but we did not manage to beat them - such is sport. But we showed some positives. I am really looking forward to competing in the (VELUX EHF) Champions League this season, as I always enjoy every moment in this competition.

ehfCL.com: Looking at the new playing system: will it be easier or harder for Barcelona to defend the title?

I said at the beginning that it will be tougher for German teams due to the double burden of Champions League and Bundesliga. But in general, even though most of the favourites stumbled in their openers this seasons, their ambitions and chances remain the same. The rest of the season will show, so we should not overestimate the first round of this season.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc