Ciudad Real president: “Davis and Parrondo have the Dujshebaev spirit”Article
«Go back

INTERVIEW: The current coaches of VELUX EHF FINAL4 participants Kielce, Vardar and Veszprém were all part of Ciudad Real when the Spanish side won their third EHF Champions League title in 2009. The former club’s president looks back
»2018-19 Men's News

Ciudad Real president: “Davis and Parrondo have the Dujshebaev spirit”

Exactly 10 years ago Club Balonmano Ciudad Real won the EHF Champions League for a final time. Their 2009 title was their third in four years’ time. In the same period they also won the Spanish ASOBAL league four times, from 2007 to 2010.

Domingo Diaz de Mera, now 64, was the club’s president. He created a handball empire by signing the best players in the world. He also appointed Talant Dujshebaev, who had been a player at Ciudad Real for four years, as the new head coach of the team.

Badly hit by economic problems, the club moved to Spain’s capital in 2011 and continued as Atlético de Madrid for a few years before its story ended for good.

This weekend, 10 years after their last EHF Champions League triumph, Ciudad Real’s history is very much present at the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

Three of the four coaches in Cologne were all together at Ciudad Real in 2009: Kielce’s Talant Dujshebaev was the head coach while both Vardar’s Roberto Parrondo and Veszprém’s David Davis were players of the successful Spanish side. Talant Dujshebaev was a player and overnight you decided to make him the coach. Was it a hard decision?

Domingo Diaz de Mera: No, absolutely no. I didn’t need more than five minutes. The beginning wasn’t easy. After losing two matches he texted me his resignation. The following day I picked him up at the train station where the team arrived, and we went for a walk. I gave him an advice: ‘You must be aware that you are not a player anymore, you are the coach.’ Dujshebaev was treating the players like teammates, which they were months earlier, but not as a coach. Some months later he won the first EHF Champions League for the club.

Domingo Diaz de Mera: For me, Dujshebaev is one of the best coaches, if not the best. He knows exactly what he must do in every moment. Even when he plays against a better team, he knows how to unhinge the opponents and he is an extremely hard worker and fighter. This is the key of his success. What was the key Ciudad Real’s success, winning three EHF Champions League titles in four years?

Domingo Diaz de Mera: The key was we were a family. We said ‘no’ to some players, great players, for their character. Do you think Talant Dujshebaev was influenced by the Valladolid school, which was led by another current VELUX EHF Champions League coach, MOL-Pick Szeged’s Juan Carlos Pastor?

Domingo Diaz de Mera: No. We had some Valladolid players but they became big players here, not before. In that time a lot of people talked about Valladolid, but here we had our own school. Talant Dujshebaev created a school, the Ciudad Real school: work, work and work. You clearly saw Dujshebaev as a coach. What about Davis and Parrondo?

Domingo Diaz de Mera: Maybe Davis, but I never thought Parrondo could be a coach. I’m very happy about their success and all they have reached. It’s an honour to see how they developed here in Ciudad Real and picked up things from Dujshebaev. They got the Dujshebaev spirit, and that’s really important for them. But Dujshebaev is an extrovert character while Parrondo and Davis are calmer.

Domingo Diaz de Mera: Yes, each one has his qualities and is different, but they share the same philosophy and they also have in common that they are great professionals and even better persons. Kielce, Vardar or Veszprém: who is more similar to the Ciudad Real team from 10 years ago?

Diaz de Mera: None… What we had here in Ciudad Real, there is no other team like that. Maybe they can be similar in spirit, but it’s difficult to find a team with a lot of stars and the quality like our Ciudad Real. Ciudad Real were in their glory years and then Xavi Pascual arrived in Barcelona…

Domingo Diaz de Mera: … and Barça went a step further. We started to get financial problems, also after we moved to Madrid. For Barcelona it was really bad that Ciudad Real and later Atlético de Madrid disappeared, considering the sport. For you, which is best team in handball history?

Domingo Diaz de Mera: Each epoch is different for a lot of aspects, but for me Barcelona and Ciudad Real are the best teams in handball history. When both teams were competing together Ciudad Real were better. Since our disappearance Barça have been the best team with the best roster. How do you see this VELUX EHF FINAL4?

Domingo Diaz de Mera: I don’t watch much handball because it makes me sad. I talk a lot with Dujshebaev, but I will also be very happy if Davis or Parrondo win the Champions League. And if Barça win it?

Domingo Diaz de Mera: I always had a great relation with the club, although people don’t think so. Any chance we will see a new project like Ciudad Real?

Domingo Diaz de Mera: For me it’s clear that it’s only possible to start a project similar to ours with people who devote a lot of time. Nobody knows how much time I dedicated to handball. Not at the moment, but you never know what’s going to happen.

TEXT: Laia Coll / ew