PSG: “I do not feel excluded from the adventure”, says Nikola Karabatic before the Final Four

Victim of a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the right knee on October 17, Nikola Karabatic (36) will not participate in his 4th Final Four of the Champions League with PSG. At least not in the same way as usual. Failing to be able to do it on the ground, it is from the stands that the Parisian leader will support his partners in Cologne (Germany), Monday in the half against Barcelona and perhaps Tuesday in the final. A situation as funny as the programming of this Final Four 2020 which will finally be played a few hours before the year 2021.

After having been Olympic, world and European champion, you have therefore become a lemon cutter …

NIKOLA KARABATIC. (he’s laughing) But not even! The lemon cutter, at least he is sitting on the bench. Me, I will be in the stands, more like the number one supporter of PSG.

Won’t it be even more difficult to follow this Final Four from the stands?

No, it would have been more stressful and painful to stay in front of the TV. There, I’m happy to go with them. It’s been a long time since I hurt myself, I mourned. The desire to be in the field exists, of course. But in my head, it’s square, this time it’s not for me. And then I do not feel excluded from the adventure. I come to bring some extra energy and motivation. In my career, I have seen players get injured during tournaments. I remember that after that I also wanted to win for them.

Is inheriting the semi-finals of Barcelona, ​​who have won their 25 games since the start of the season, bad news?

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Barça is the fittest team. Let’s be honest, between them and us, the favorite of this semi-final is rather Barcelona. But Barça, Kiel and Veszprém are the best in Europe. If we want to go to the end, we have to beat the best. So let’s take it more as a good test.

PSG footballers will also face the Catalans in the Champions League. Who is more likely to beat “his” Barça?

That’s right, in football they will also play Barça ( laughs ). In football, it will be played over two matches with the return to the Park. This will be an advantage, especially since, by then, there will perhaps be a few people at the stadium and they will have recovered their injuries. In full, PSG will be favorites. In the hand, it’s different: we will play in a dry match, without an audience, against a full Barça… The Spaniards are favorites, even if we know very well that the notion of favorite does not mean much.

Without an audience and stuck between Christmas and New Year’s Day, does this Final Four have the same flavor as the others?

No ! Playing a competition in a room with 20,000 seats totally empty cannot have the same flavor. Winning in a deserted hall is not the same as in front of crazy stands. But for the clubs, this meeting is important, even more so in times of economic crisis.

It does not seem to take into account the health of the players …

I don’t know if we can say that the date is catastrophic, but it is clear that economic interests have prevailed over health. There, the guys will play two games in 24 hours. And behind, most will follow with the internships in the national team, qualifying matches for the Euro and then the World Cup… It’s dangerous.

Do you agree with Thomas Tuchel who recently said that this overloaded schedule was going to kill the players?

In football, players and their unions have influence. We don’t have any at all. If we put them two games in 24 hours, I’m not sure it will pass. I understand that they complain in football, but it’s even worse in the hand. Unfortunately it’s been like this for a long time and nothing changes.

You will miss the World Cup in Egypt in January. What can the France team seek there?

I haven’t seen him play yet. But at the player level, I don’t worry about his talent. A team like this has to fight for a medal in every competition.

The situation is unprecedented for coach Guillaume Gille who will play his first competition without having been able to revise his ranges …

He’s not showing up out of nowhere either, he had been with the team for 3.4 years. But it is not an easy task to prepare a team that has not trained together all year. But that’s a bit of a challenge for everyone.

Does the new silver medal won by the girls at the Euro put you under pressure?

Under pressure, no! But there is an emulation. The girls use a little of what we have done to motivate themselves and match us. Seeing them succeed must push some to follow suit.

When do you plan to resume competition?

Apart from resorting after three months, I have not set a date. It’s not a sprain where by gritting your teeth, you can start again anyway. There is a transplant, I will really wait until all the lights are green.

Do you think you’re back for the Games?

It’s one of my goals. First of all, I hope that the France team will qualify and if so that I will earn my place for the adventure.



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