Sporting sense a big European season

EHF / Tiago Nogueira

Last season, Sporting CP reached the Last 16 of the EHF European League, where they ended up being eliminated by Wisla Plock by just one goal over two legs.

The Lions are back with bigger ambitions this season and do not lack individual quality in their team. Players such as Carlos Ruesga, Natán Suárez and Salvador Salvador promise to give Sporting CP opponents plenty of headaches.

Main facts

  • qualified for the EHF European League by beating Danish side Holstebro in qualification round 2
  • Sporting CP has a new head coach, Ricardo Costa
  • the biggest signing this season is Natán Suárez, Ademar León’s centre back last season
  • other big summer signings include Josep Folqués and Jonas Tidemand

Most important question: Can Sporting CP do better than last season?

Portuguese handball is strong, really strong, and the lions have proven they can go a long way in this European competition. With a new coach and a squad that mixes talented youth with experience, the ambition and motivation are touching the sky.

Head coach Ricardo Costa demonstrates this ambition. “Our mentality in every competition is to fight to win every game. We want to pass this stage and therefore we will have to be among the top four in our group.”

In turn, the team captain Salvador Salvador is excited for what is to come. “We feel really happy about being able to play in the EHF European League group phase. We have a young team but highly motivated to play this competition”.

Under the spotlight: Carlos Ruesga

Carlos Ruesga is the lighthouse that brings balance to this team. The Spaniard who arrived at Sporting CP in 2016 is one of the key players in this team, mostly offensively.

Ruesga is a very versatile player, with power, technique and great vision of the game. Last season, he impressed in the EHF European League and his ability in one against one situations makes him always worth watching.

How they rate themselves

There are no doubts about the high ambitions of Sporting CP. They are not just happy competing in the EHF European League, they aim higher than that.

“We want to win every game and fight for the first position,” Salvador Salvador says.

Did you know?

We need to go back to 1932 to find the first Sporting's handball team. The first League title came in 1951/52 and, from then onwards, handball became one of the most cherished sports for the green and white supporters.

The club's golden era arrived in the 60's when Sporting CP won seven League titles in eight seasons. Such remarkable results was immortalised and known as ‘The Magnificent Seven’.

What the numbers say

Eight – that is the number of players aged 20 years and under in the squad, a fact that demonstrates the bright future of this talented squad.

Arrivals and departures

Arrivals: Yassine Belkaied (Vitória FC), Josep Folqués (BM Benidorm), Martim Costa (FC Porto), Natán Suarez (Ademar Leon), André José (ABC Braga), Francisco Costa (FC Porto), Mamadou Gassama (BM Granollers), Erekle Arsenashvili (ABC Braga), Jonas Tidemand (Skjern).

Departures: Aljosa Cudic (Trimo Trebnje), Tomas Van Zeller (Maccabi Dimona), Nuno Roque (Vitoria FC), Arnaud Bingo (Tremblay Handball), Tomislav Spruk (RD Koper), Darko Djukic (RK Vardar), Daniel Andrejew (no club yet), Frankis Carol (Al-Arabi SC and then Kuwait SC), Pedro Valdés (FC Porto), Tiago Rocha (Grand Nancy), Dmytro Doroshchuk (no club yet)

Past achievements

EHF Champions League
Last 16 (1) : 2018/19
Group phase (2): 2017/18, 2019/20
Group matches (1): 2001/02

European League
Last 16 (1): 2020/21

Quarter-finals: 2000/01, 2013/14

Cup Winners’ Cup
Quarter-finals: 2003/04

Challenge Cup
Winners 2009/10, 2016/17; Semi-finals 2011/12

Portuguese league: 21 titles (1952, 1956; 1961; 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2017, 2018)

Portuguese cup: 15 titles (1972, 1973, 1975, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2012, 2013, 2014)

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