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Important players at club level and in the French national side, the blaugranes Sorhaindo and Karabatic are currently playing together for France in the current handball world championship. Playing for two side who are always expected to challenge for honours means there are always similarities, but there are also differences. The two players explain them to us in this interview.
Is it really different travelling with the French side than with Barça?
Nikola Karabatic: “In France we always travel in coach decorated with pictures of the French handball side.”
Cedric Sorhaindo: “On the coach we always sit in a similar place. Before I used to sit with Didier Dinart, but once he retired now I always have Nyokas next to me.”
Is training different?
C.S.: “The difference is that with France we all arrive from different clubs and we usually have very little time to work together. At Barça you can develop over the year.”
N.K.: “We have very little time to train with the national side, we have to do everything in ten days. In general the type of training session is similar, but with the national side we do more fitness work.”
What are your personal relationships like with your team mates in the French national side? Are they different to those at Barça?
C:S.: “At the club we live together. We spend more time with the team than with the national side. We are with France two months of the year; we don’t follow each other in the same way, that’s true. The relationship is different but intense, special.”
Is the food that you have with France to that of Barça?
N.K.: “It’s very similar. The only thing is that we don’t have crisps on match days…,” explained in between laughs the Barça wide man.
Are the playing systems different?
N.K.: “Right now they are not too different. Previously perhaps they were different, but now they are pretty similar. Things that we have at Barça we don’t need to talk about here because we have already created them between ourselves.”
C.S.: “We have similar structures. We work all year round together and we have intuitive ways of doing things.”
Are your roles very different with France compared to that with Barça?
N.K.: “At Barcelona we have the best players in the world in every position. The pressure is spread out amongst the players. It’s the same with France but we know that Cedric and I have to be the leaders. If we want to win then we have to lead from the front. We have a bit more personal pressure here.”
C.S.: “They are different responsibilities. In the national side we have to be consistent and lead to give our best. At Barcelona it’s different since the responsibility is shared more between everyone and the coach as well.
How would you change the routines with the national side and with Barça?
“The sandwiches on the way back after the games, the Barça doctor always asks for them,” they both agree, smiling.
The happy faces continue as Sorhaindo and Karabatic remember a promise made by Didier Dinart: “If we won the Olympic title, Dinart said he would not cut his hair for a year and he still hasn’t fulfilled his promise.”
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