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Kiril Lazarov

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‘Team success is more important than my goals’ 
Interview with Macedonian top scorer Kiril Lazarov 
He is the all-time record scorer of a single World Championship scoring 92 goals in nine matches at the 2009 tournament in Croatia, and he is the all-time record scorer of a single European Championship netting 61 times in 7 seven matches at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia: Kiril Lazarov is a ‘goal machine’, but doesn’t like to be called like that. Two months prior to the World Championship in Spain Macedonia’s greatest handball legend ever entered the ‘club of 1,000’, as he scored more than 1,000 goals for the Macedonian team. Lazarov (32) will play his third World Championship in 2013 after 1999 and 2009 where he and his teammates will face Denmark, Iceland, Russia, Qatar and Chile at the preliminary round stage.
His team sensationally ranked fifth at the EURO 2012 and came in eleventh at the 2009 WCh in Croatia. In this interview the right back from IHF Super Globe winner Atletico Madrid, who is also the double top scorer of the EHF Champions League, talks about his role and aims for the World Championship. 
Lazarov was the youngest Macedonian ever to earn a call-up for the men’s national team at the age of 17, and already played his first European Cup match with Pelister Bitola when he was only 15 years and 4 months old. Since then he has won 32 titles with his former and current clubs like Veszprem, Zagreb or Madrid. 
After 5th rank in Serbia, is Macedonia a candidate for the semi-finals in Spain?
Kiril Lazarov: My opinion is a different one: The two first preliminary round matches against Chile and Qatar are our ‘semi-finals’. If we win both, we will advance to the eighth-finals, and then we can talk again. 
Is it something special for you to play a World Championship in Spain, as you are playing at a Spanish club?
Kiril Lazarov: Spain is a wonderful country, temperatures are rather warm in January. I speak Spanish and I have a lot of friends there – it will be wonderful!
Will you be supported by the Spanish fans?
Kiril Lazarov: I hope so. But you have to prove success and fighting spirit first before gaining support. I hope the Spaniards will cheer me up. 
Many spectators encouraged Macedonia in Serbia. Will there be many Macedonian fans in Spain too?
Kiril Lazarov: Serbia is close to Macedonia whereas Spain is farther away. However, I am quite sure that we will get support from our faithful fans 
Metalurg Skopje is performing brilliantly in the EHF Champions League – is it a good omen for the Macedonian national team, as a large number of your national teammates play with the colours of Metalurg?
Kiril Lazarov: Metalurg is playing quite well at the moment, but still it is only the group phase of that competition.  The real tough matches will be as from the eighth-finals on. Generally speaking it is actually very positive for the national team to have that successful clubs from Macedonia.
Is Denmark your favourite of the group, or is Macedonia able to take revenge for their last-second defeat at the EURO in Serbia? 
Kiril Lazarov: Denmark is a perfect example what is possible if a national team is working. We will give everything we have to play a good match, then we will wait and see what is possible. 
What are your personal favourites for gold – apart from Macedonia?
Kiril Lazarov: First, I just want to talk about the favourites in our group, as favourite roles may change quickly in sports. So Russia, Denmark and Iceland are our main contenders on the road to the eighth-finals – and often little things may decide whether you win or lose such matches. 
The last World Championship you competed with Macedonia was in 2009. You became the top scorer and even the all-time top scorer. Are you eager to win this award in Spain too?
Kiril Lazarov: I wish to be as successful as in 2009, that’s for sure, but this will not be just within my power. Quite a lot of things need to fit to be on top again. Anyway, team success is much more important than the number of goals I score.