Aron Palmarsson: ‘You have achieved a lot already when you make it here’

In 2009, one of the biggest talents in global handball arrived at THW Kiel from Iceland. Just one year later, Aron Palmarsson won the VELUX EHF Champions League at the age of 19.

Now, at only 28, the playmaker and youngest ever All-star Team player at an Olympic Games (in London 2012) is a record holder with eight appearances at the VELUX EHF FINAL4, for three different clubs: Kiel (five), Veszprém (two) and now Barcelona.

He was twice named MVP of the VELUX EHF FINAL4. Both times the honour came after a loss in the finals – in 2014 with Kiel against Flensburg, and in 2016 with Veszprém against Kielce. In 2019, Palmarsson is aiming for his third trophy in Cologne after winning it with Kiel in 2010 and 2012.

When you look back on your very first participation at the VELUX EHF FINAL4, what do you remember most?

Aron Palmarsson: 2010 is so long ago, I was very young and it was my first of five times with Kiel. It was outstanding to win the trophy after a highly intense weekend, beating Ciudad Real and Barcelona. It was absolutely brilliant.

Did you already have a routine on the winners’ podium in 2012?

Aron Palmarsson: This was the most remarkable season ever with Kiel. We had won all 34 Bundesliga matches and won all trophies: the German league, the German cup and as the icing on the cake the Champions League again. We did not even know any longer how it feels to lose a match. I think no German club will ever play a season like this again.

Besides the two winners’ trophies you were named VELUX EHF FINAL4 MVP twice – but in very unhappy moments, after losing the finals in 2014 and 2016.

Aron Palmarsson: In moments like this, you do not want to have this trophy, you feel so sad and disappointed. I would have preferred to win the Champions League four times than receive those two MVP awards. But I am sure when I have finished my career I will have a different look upon those trophies, which are currently stored in my silverware room. But maybe I shall play weaker, so me and my club get the more important trophy.

In your first ever VELUX EHF FINAL4 with Veszprém, you lost the most dramatic final ever. What happened in this match against Kielce?

Aron Palmarsson: It is still the most unbelievable moment in my career. We needed two, three weeks to cope with this defeat. I do not know how it was possible that we gave away a nine-goal advantage. I don’t think that something similar will ever happen again in the history of this event.

Now you are in Cologne with FC Barcelona. Is it different to arrive with Barça compared to being here with Kiel and Veszprém?

Aron Palmarsson: Now, it is more or less the same, it makes no difference. Many people say we are the favourites this year as we had won the group and played a very strong season. But it does not matter if you arrive as favourite or not, it is one match which decides everything. And so many little things are crucial, you cannot predict them.

What makes the VELUX EHF FINAL4 so special for you?

Aron Palmarsson: The huge number of fans, the incredible atmosphere, and all those happy faces when you enter the arena. You have achieved a lot already when you make it here. And of course to see the best handball in the world.

Are we currently seeing the best Aron Palmarsson ever?

Aron Palmarsson: Others shall rate this, but it sounds quite good. I feel fit, mentally and physically. I fit quite well into the team now.

Every year at least one Icelandic player or coach is part of the event. What does it mean for a country with only 300,000 inhabitants?

Aron Palmarsson: This year I am the one, and of course it means much for me and all of us. It proves that we are handball crazy, have great skills and produce outstanding players and coaches.

Check back tomorrow for an interview with Veszprém’s Momir Ilic, who like Palmarsson has appeared eight times at the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

TEXT: Björn Pazen/jh
 

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