The ‘flow’ of a Barceloneta that aspires to its second Champions League

CN Barcelona, ​​CN Catalunya and Atlètic-Barceloneta. There are only three Spanish clubs that have managed to lift the men’s Champions League, and now the sailors want to continue going down in history with their second crown. Starting this Wednesday in Belgrade, the cradle of water polo, start that challenge against Jug Dubrovnik (15:30). The path is marked. On Thursday will be the semifinals and on Saturday, at 9:00 p.m., the final. “We found our best level. The last quarter we have given a good performance. Winning at Recco (the richest and most successful team) and being first has given us more motivation. It is being our best season in the Champions League”explains Fran Fernández, one of the veterans (37 years old in June).

The former international is key in a superlative squad, which has accumulated 18 consecutive league titles in Spain and is one of the best European clubs of the last two decades. Raised in Tres Cantos (Madrid), he has developed his career in Catalonia and has the background to explain the secret of a legendary team. “Last year we experienced a change of coach. These processes are complex.Enter Fernandez. “There was a lot of respect, his philosophy was different and the language. We needed time and, in addition, many players have given confidence to be world champions. Barceloneta has earned the respect of rivals and referees”, underlines the player. Impossible not to relate the successes of David Martín’s National Team with that of Elvis Fatovic’s Barceloneta and before that of his brother Chus Martín.

Although the regular phase has been spotless, in the final eight there are surprises and equality reigns. An example is this Dubrovnik, a great come down (“has lost his league”) but with level players. “It is a competition that does not let you sleep peacefully. Everyone can beat you. Jug is irregular, but he has Jokovic and Kakaris, who is a young buoy and is one of the best. Then other players with level. We recently stayed with them and we know them well. It’s a double-edged weapon.”, commented Fernández, who could face the last championship of his sports career. Or not. Because everything is up in the air and he prefers to postpone the decision to the end.

“If there hadn’t been a pandemic, maybe I wouldn’t be playing anymore. We do not come with an expiration date. Sports life is now long-lived. Last year they asked me to play one more year, I still look good. I understand that the club must bet on young people. We’ll see how the final eight goes and then I’ll communicate. Now this distracts me”, explains the water polo player, who knows perfectly his teammates and the secrets of this healthy and winning group.

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“Felipe is the natural leader, he is cold and takes the chestnuts out of the fire. Larumbe is competitive, a winner and that is transmitted. Unai Aguirre has ambition, he wants to be number one, he is even obsessive… A little madman, ”says Fernández, who highlights other colleagues such as “Nic Porter, who is living a dream, looks passionate” or Alberto Munarriz: “When the important moments arrive, he does not speak. He is a four by four, an SUV, a very studious person. He always asks, he is critical”. One of the signings of this course has been Roger Tahull, the Spanish international buoy, who has returned after a period at CN Barcelona. He and Miguel de Toro form a couple “in which they are one.” This Wednesday they will be key in the Belgrade pool.

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