World’s best handball player of the year three times and crowned at all levels with Denmark, Mikkel Hansen is aiming for a first Champions League, the only trophy missing from his record, with Paris SG during the “Final Four” in Cologne (Germany ), Monday and Tuesday.
At 33, the left-back (210 caps, 1,036 goals) was gold medalist at the European Championship in 2012, Olympic champion in 2016 in Rio, before climbing again to the top step of the podium during of the World Cup in 2019. The quality and the shooting power of his right arm have allowed him to be named best player in the world three times, in 2011, 2015 and 2018.
However, one line is missing from its record: the Champions League. Finalist twice, first with FC Barcelona in 2010, then in 2017 with PSG, Mikkel Hansen still dreams of lifting the cup. “It’s clear that I really want to win this trophy, it’s a big dream,” said Mikkel Hansen to AFP. “It’s a thing, you dream about it all your life, in the garden, when you are young, when you play a little with your father, you imagine that you are in the room, that there are 20,000 people watching the match, and you score the last goal … », dreams this son of a former international of the 1980s.
More than 2,000 goals with Paris
Among his teammates in Paris, four have already won the European trophy. But now, Vincent Gérard, Nikola Karabatic, Dainis Kristopans or Viran Morros joined the club from the capital later and none has suffered as many years of famine as the Dane with Paris.
Arrived in 2012 at Paris SG, Mikkel Hansen, 24 at the time, is the oldest player as well as the most capped of the workforce and in September scored his 2,000th goal in the red and blue jersey. He had been seduced by “the quality of the project and of the city”, even if Paris was not qualified that season to compete in the queen competition. “Of course the goal eight years ago was to win the Champions League with Paris. It’s a club with ambitions, that’s also why I stayed longer, ”he insists. The dream could have come true in 2017: finalist, PSG ceded the title to Vardar Skopje at the last second. “It’s like that, it’s the little details that make matches win. There are small details that chose the Vardar over us, ”recalls Mikkel Hansen. “We had a very solid season, it was very hard for everyone. Nobody goes to Cologne to lose the final. ”
We will have to start by beating Barcelona, nine times winner of the Champions League and four times finalist, author of a faultless this year in the European competition and in the national championship, then to achieve another performance in the final against Veszprem or Kiel. “We know it’s going to be tough, but that’s normal, it’s a Champions League semi-final,” Hansen sweeps away. “Everyone leaves with the mentality of making the best game of their life. We hope that will be enough to win in the semi-finals. We’ll see after.” The people of Barcelona have been warned.