Xavi Pascual has said goodbye in style to Barça handball: with a Champions League that crowns a perfect season, with a full of victories and titles. In his last game on the Barcelona bench after 12 seasons, Pasqui won his third Champions League, the club’s tenth. The Catalans have had all the luck and success that they lacked in previous visits at Lanxess Arena and prevailed with undeniable authority over Danish Aalborg in the final (36-23).
The 61st win in this flawless campaign gave Pascual his 61 title as a Barça player, six in this last season in which he had celebrated the League, Copa del Rey, Copa Asobal and the Catalan and Spanish Super Cups. Barça has conquered all the Spanish and Catalan competitions it has played since 2013 and has not lost to a Spanish team for three years. The Champions was his pending subject, since luck had been elusive in Cologne since they won the last European title in 2015. In December he missed the final (postponed by the covid and that corresponded to the previous season), but this Sunday he has not given the option to rival.
Beyond the Scandinavian initial 2-5, the rest of the clash has been a Barça monologue. Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas, well supported by a very intense defense commanded by Thiagus Pietrus, sealed the frame while Dika Mem led an attack in which Cindric and Aleix Gómez were infallible. The Danish coach had to request a time-out after a 6-0 run but Barça would no longer leave the lead on the scoreboard. After going to rest with a comfortable income of 16-11, the Catalans have not lowered their revolutions after the break. N’Guessan, perhaps the least inspired by the first act but who has paid off in a big way in the second, has finished blowing up the hopes of the Danes. The goalkeeper Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas, to sign his exhibition under the sticks, has managed to score three goals.
With the meeting resolved, Pasqui has admitted Sorhaindo. After 11 years at the club, the French center-back has played the last five minutes before leading the celebration on the court. The last dance as a Barça player for many. It has been an afternoon of many goodbyes, since in addition to Sorhaindo, Xavi Pascual and David Barrufet (sports manager who will leave the club after 37 years) it has also been the last match of Dolenec, Möller, Àlex Pascual, Palmarsson and Raúl Bury them. The captain, who will integrate into the technical structure of the section after the Tokyo Games, gave the experience and pause to the team. The veteran Entrerríos has mixed well with the self-confidence of another center-back, a Makuc who at 20 is called to guide the new stage that is now opening.
Joan Laporta, who has decided to start a new project in handball with the departure of Pasqui and Barrufet, has held the second Champions League of his second stage in the presidency in Cologne, after the one held in Gothenburg with the women’s soccer club.