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Date: 3/16/2017

Thousands of handball fans took their chance to vote for their Players of the Year 2016 after a group of IHF experts and national team coaches had proposed five male and female players each, who they consider to be the best players in 2016.

The overall voting for the Players of the Year was based on three votes and taking all three of them into account – experts, media and fans – the winners of this year’s Players of the Year vote are: Nikola Karabatic (FRA) and Cristina Neagu (ROU). For both of them it’s the third Player of the Year award after Karabatic had won it already in 2007 and 2014 and Neagu in 2010 and 2015.


For the Player of the Year 2016 in the men’s category, there was no doubt at all who the best player in 2016 was, with Nikola Karabatic ranking first in all three votes. On places two and three, Mikkel Hansen (DEN) and Andreas Wolff (GER) were head-to-head and in the end it were the fans who tipped the scales. With 17.23% in the fan vote, Wolff could claim second place ahead of Hansen with 16.13%. Domagoj Duvnjak (CRO) ranked fourth while Sander Sagosen (NOR) finished far behind on fifth place.


In the women’s category of the Player of the Year 2016 vote, Cristina Neagu found herself in a neck-to-neck race with Nora Mork (NOR) and Nycke Groot (NED) – considering all three categories, as Neagu won the fan vote clearly with 37.14% ahead of Mork (20.86%). In the end, Mork ranked second and Groot third. Sweden’s Isabelle Gullden and Kari Grimsbo from Norway stood no chance and finished on ranks four and five, respectively.


Below you can find a short overview of the winners. If you want to know more about all nominees and their 2016 performances click here.


Both Players of the Year 2016 were voted Most Valuable Player and were part of the All-star Team of an event on more than one occasion and won the national championships with their respective clubs several times. The list of achievements is thus only an overview of the most important ones with the national and club teams.


Nikola Karabatic

Nationality: France

Date of birth: 11 April 1984

Current club: Paris Saint-Germain Handball

Achievements: winner of 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, silver at Rio 2016, World Champion 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017, bronze at 2003 and 2005 World Championships; gold at EHF EUROs in 2006, 2010 and 2014, bronze in 2008; 3x EHF Champions League winner (2003, 2007, 2015); 2x Super Globe champion (2013, 2014); 3x IHF Player of the Year (2007, 2014 and 2016)


Cristina Neagu

Nationality: Romania

Date of birth: 26 August 1988

Current club: ZRK Buducnost Podgorica

Achievements: 2015 World Championship bronze; 2010 Women’s EHF EURO bronze; EHF Champions League winner 2015; 3x IHF Player of the Year (2010, 2015 and 2016)