European Handball Federation: Fans Vote Croatia’s Luka Cindrić as Favorite Male Player of 2017

Daniela Rogulj

While the World Handball Federation has yet to announce the nominees for the world’s best handball players of the year, the European Handball Federation has eased the nerves by offering supporters a chance to vote for their favorite in 2017 – and it’s a Croat. 

Luka Cindrić, Croatia’s 24-year-old handball player from Ogulin who won the Champions League with RK Vardar in one of the biggest handball tournaments in history, has been chosen as the favorite handball player of 2017, reports on January 7, 2018.

In competition with Cindrić was the ‘eternal’ pivot of the Spanish national team Julen Aguinagalde (Kielce), a top player of Veszprem who no longer plays for the Serbian team – Momir Ilić, Norwegian Sander Sagosen (PSG), Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas (Barcelona) 14-year-old Swedish talent Ludvig Hallbäck (Aranäs), one of Hungary’s main trump cards at the Euro in Croatia – Máté Lékai (Veszprem) and the legendary goalkeeper Arpad Šterbik (Vardar).

Voting ended yesterday, and Cindrić outvoted Hungary’s Matko Lekai in a near photo finish. Cindrić received a total of 46 percent of votes, while Lekai saw 41 percent for second best. 

The Croatian centre-back had an extraordinary 2017 at Vardar. He became one of the leaders of the team, whose shot in the final seconds of the Champions League semifinals against FC Barcelona advanced them to the finals where they defeated PSG. In addition, Cindrić was ranked very high in many elections for the world’s best handball player last year.

Luka’s talent will further be confirmed at the European Handball Championship set to begin this weekend in Croatia. Croatia opens the tournament against Serbia to a sold-out Spaladium Arena on January 16, 2018.

“This was a year that brought me a lot in my career, and we’ve won everything we could. Except for a national team medal. I really keep playing well at my club, I’m happy and that gives me the motivation to continue to work,” Cindrić said to Dnevnik Nova TV, as reported by on January 7, 2018. 

With tickets for the opening match of the Euros no longer available, the pressure must already be felt by the Croatia national team. 

“It started, it started. Many people will be there to watch. It will be a spectacle. Unfortunately, tickets are no longer available. Although the atmosphere and the nervousness have already begun,” added Cindrić.

And what about Croatia’s opponent, Serbia?

“Serbia is very good, they have players in world clubs. It will not be easy. We have a lot of pressure because we are playing in front of our local audience.”

And Luka’s thoughts on Croatia at the Euros?

“It will not be easy to choose the seven men who start the game. We do not have big stars, we’re all as one. We, like Vardar showed it well at the FF, will win the game as a team, not an individual. “

The European Handball Championship takes place in Croatia From January 16 to 28, 2018. 

Excerpts taken from and


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