16 December 2016
Each week, we offer you a full portrait of one of the players that will be in the spotlights during the World Championships 2017, with the help from one of the four ambassadors of the competition. This week, Alex Dujshebaev as seen by Bruno Martini.
Like Valero Rivera, his teammate in the Spanish team, Alex Dujshebaev is the son of a handball legend, Talant Dujshebaev, who was chosen twice as IHF’s best international handball player, in 1994 and 1996. This direct line of descent sometimes was a heavy weigth to carry, but it allowed Alex Dujshebaev to be immersed in top level handball from his early days, in Spain, his father’s adopted country. He began his career at 18 in Liga ASOBAL, and quickly showed some great aptitude, mainly in offence. Best goal scorer and best right back of the Spanish league in 2013 with BM Aragon, he signed with Atletico Madrid on the following summer, but the club went bankrupt and was dissolved before the start of the season. Alex Dujshebaev then made the daring choice to leave Spain to go to Macedonia, at Vardar Skopje. The right back quickly became a key palyer inside this ambitious club, which has been a Champions League regular over the last years, and he particulary shone on the European scene – he was chosen as the best young player of the Champions League in 2015. Spanish international since 2014, the right back, who will turn 24 on December 17th, is playing an increasingly important role in the Spanish gameplan, and should be one of La Roja’s leaders in the coming years.
Bruno Martini about Alex Dujshebaev
“He reminds me of Patrick Cazal. He’s not necessarily the typical right back, he is less than 1,90 meter high, but he is strong, fast, powerful and smart. He mostly excels at offence, he can score in every position, but he is also able to open up breaches in the defense with his passing. His career has been followed for a while, because he is the son of Talant Dujshebaev and because he showed some good things very early. He still has to assert himself to be identified as one of the best. He already moved a step forward when he left Spain to Vardar Skopje, which is playing the Champions League and where he was given big responsibilities, even if he was still young at the time he arrived. The next step is to assume a leading role in the Spanish team and to change clubs, in order to be even more ambitious. Next summer, he will by the way join Kielce, the last Champions League winner. He’s a quite different player from his father. Talant Dujshebaev wasn’t left-handed, and he played as a centre back, so he was more a playmaker-shooter. He had something elastic in his game, and it’s something you can find too in Alex Dujshebaev’s game, to a lesser degree. He is able to play in a spectacular way, but that’s not his trademark. In fact, he really is an all-round player, you can hardly tell his major quality and his major weakness. Maybe, it could be an area of work for him in the future : improve some specific aspects of his game in order to make them really dominant.”
Alex Dujshebaev and the 2017 World Championship
“It’s a very important Championship. It is not my first, but it is the start of a new period for Spain, a new olympic cycle. So we have to do a good work and to play well, especially after our last defeats before the Olympic Games. We had a very bad moment, and now we want to do it better and to fight again for the medals. France was a good choice to host this World Championship, because we know that this country has a very good tradition of handball, so I’m sure that the organization will be fine and that we are going to see a great World Championship. We must go step by step, but of course, our goal is to fight for a medal. But the most important thing is to respect all our opponents and rivals in the competition. In our group, there are some opponents we know well. We played so many times against Slovenia, Iceland and Macedonia… We know these teams and they know us, so it won’t be easy, we will need to play some very good games to beat these three nations. We also have to be ready to play a tough game against Tunisia, which is a very good team. They have many good players, who are playing in the French League, in the German League or in the Spanish League. Maybe we have less informations about the Angolan team, but we have to prepare well this game too. Every victory is important and every point is important for the next phase. It’s crucial to end at a good position in our group, in order to have a better chance in the round of 16.”
The phenomenal play
As we saw, Alex Dujshebaev is a different player from the one his father was, but Alex still inheritated Talant’s magical wrist, which makes him able of some incredibly spectacular shots. This glorious goal scored in October 2015 against Rhein-Neckar in Champions League surely is a telling example. This astonishing hip shot also was a decisive one, as it made Vardar certain of a huge win over the German giants (25-19).