23 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, Laszlo Nagy as seen by Jérôme Fernandez.
At nearly 36, the Hungarian Laszlo Nagy remains one of the references on the right back position. After leaving his country when he was 19, he moved to Spain, in Barcelona, where he built himself an impressive record in twelve years. With two Champions League and quatre Spanish leagues under his belt, he shone his sun upon the Catalunyan club, thanks to his intelligence and his height. Because of course, when you’re two meters and nine centimeters high, everything’s easier. Excellent defender, he’s also very effective on offense, using his arm and his strength. In 2012, he decided to move back home, in Veszprem, to help the red team to come back on Europe’s heights. If has has won everything in Barcelona, Laszlo Nagy is still looking for his first success with his national team. Often too lonely, he’s never been that far from an olympic medal, but twice (2004 & 2012), Hungary just finished at the fourth place. Depsite the team being changed around and young players brought in by coach Javier Sabaté, Laszlo Nagy is still an important part of the squad. Because with an experience such as his, it would a loss not to use it…”
Jérôme Fernandez about Laszlo Nagy
“I’ve played with Laszlo in Barcelone and I can tell he’s a great person in handball. Because he’s tall, for sure, but humanly he’s always remained humble and nice to be around. He was the first to welcome new players at the beginning of each season and tried hard so that handball would remain a pleasure for him. When you see him play, you might think he’s somehow slow, that he plays walking, almost the opposite of what modern handball requires. But, actually, he’s extremly intelligent, does everything at the right time and doesn’t need to do many efforts to be accurate while playing. The fact that he went back to Hungary felt almost logical to me, because he’s such an idol there. He really is a handball monument, who has been through many eras and been liked at every point of his career. But his head has always been on his shoulders, he remained accessible all the way through. He might not be the best known player because he’s not keen to put himself in the spotlight, but it’s been an honour for me to have played with such a handball monument.”
Laszlo Nagy and the 2017 World Championship
It will be a real pleasure for me to take part in the world championship in France, in a country where people love handball. We are re-building our team right now, we are playing with a lot of new players so we need time to be really efficient. We will, no matter what, o our best to make it out of the group phase against teams that are not easy to play against. Germany, Croatia, Belarus have got assets to cause us trouble. Of course France will be the favourite, because its team is fantastic, they win everything and they will play at home. I’ve never had the chance to play a big competition at home with the national team, but I can imagine that the motivation is even bigger and that my French friends are looking forward to the beginning of the competition. And so am I !
The phenomenal play
This is not his most spectacular goal, nor his most accurate pass. But Laszlo Nagy, you’ll have understood it, is a giant, first and foremost humanly speaking. Three years ago, at the end of a game against Pick Szeged, he grabs one of his opponents to put him back oncourt, since it was this man’s last game before retirement. He gives him the ball so he can score one last goal, a gesture that has receives praises all across Hungarian handball. Let’s just hope that, in January, Laszlo Nagy won’t be as kind to his opponent !