He could not say goodbye playing an official match at the Palau Blaugrana, as he had dreamed of when he retired, but finally Víctor Tomàs (Barcelona, 37 years old) was able to receive his deserved tribute after 23 seasons -18 in the first team- defending the Barça colors and seeing his number 8 hanging in the temple. The fans and the club paid him eternal gratitude, and the team gave him a superb victory, with a heroic comeback in the Champions League, a seventh win in eight games, against Kiel (26-24), to consolidate the leadership of group B.
After the setback at the Wunderino Arena last week (30-30, the first point ceded by the blaugrana in the Champions League), Carlos Ortega's team wanted revenge. And the Palau, longing for a scoring festival, as a prelude to the subsequent tribute.
However, Barça did not do well in defense and conceded a quick 0-3, sponsored by the four saves in a row by the ineffable Landin. The first Blaugrana goal, by Dika Mem, was made to wait for almost 5 minutes. The Blaugrana team, too soft in defense and predictable in attack, paid for the bad start by trailing the entire first half, unable to take the initiative.
Ortega's team improved as the minutes passed, leading the duel to a dynamic of replicas and counter-replies in the exchange of goals that allowed him to stay alive, going from disadvantages of 1-2 goals to draws. He adjusted the defense better and Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas made good saves to keep his team afloat, while the goals were shared between wingers Aleix Gómez and Ariño (5) and missile launchers Mem and N'Guessan (4) to unravel.
Kiel proved to be a very powerful rival, with a strong defense topped by a great Landin, and in attack, Reinkind's cannon shots (4 goals) or the speed of Bilyk or Fraatz. In addition, the German team recovered its Norwegian center back Sagosen, who reappeared on Sunday after six months out due to injury, and intervened very little, except as soon as he left.
At 13-13 and with a save in each area, the second half began, with the same profile of seasoned defenses and decisive goalkeepers. Between Ekberg, infallible from 7 meters, and Dahmke put up a 2 (13-15, 14-16, 16-18) that forced Ortega to ask for time and his team to row against the current again.
Ekberg's 16-19, first disadvantage of 3 goals, raised the bar for Barça. Ortega played it with Makuc in the lead, Langaro and Janc on the track, usual second units. With these wickers, Barça got up. With a 4-1 run (two goals from the young Slovenian) they equalized the match in just two minutes (20-20) and almost a quarter ahead. Anything was possible, and it was when the Palau pressed like on great occasions, like a boiler. Thus came the first advantage, with a goal by Langaro, on 22-21 at 19:16. The blaugrana temple collapsed.
The last 10 minutes were heart attack, madness, passion and a gale of dedication. Barça got on the wave of the Palau, redoubled their defences, Pérez de Vargas lowered the blind and between Makuc, Mem and Fàbregas they put the first 2 (25-23) with 4m30s to go. The blaugrana team was already launched. Wiencek expelled himself with an attack on Makuc with 2 minutes to go and the Palau sang madly. Bilyk closed the gap (25-24) with 1m10s to go and in the next attack N'Guessan finished off the job with the 26-24 score. Superb comeback to prop up the leader, and to pay tribute to Víctor Tomàs on a platter.
On November 30, 2022 was the second farewell to Víctor Tomàs. In the first, that February 3, 2022 of tears and surprises, the then captain announced with pain that he was leaving handball due to a heart problem. He ended that 2019-20 season without being able to say goodbye to the fans, since that year the covid pandemic exploded, the facilities were closed and the competitions were shortened. With the Palau closed to the public and the change of board of directors, the tribute was delayed. Until this November 30.
Due to EHF requirements, the tribute to Viti could not be done before the match. The fans waited in their seats and gave themselves up to the party, in which Víctor Tomàs cried again, this time with emotion and gratitude. Like the great heroes of Barcelona, he had his shirt with the number 8 number removed from him in the sky of the Palau, along with that of 13 other myths (there are already 7 of handball).
"Retiring the shirt is a source of great pride and brutal satisfaction," said the former captain, who dressed in shorts again and wore the captain's armband. In his 18 years in the first team he won 69 titles, the club's third player with the most trophies (only David Barrufet surpasses him, with 71, and Aitor Egurrola, with 78), as recorded in an emotional video on the video scoreboard of a Palau applauding him standing.
The tribute to Tomàs was not missing from the board of directors of Barça in full with Joan Laporta at the head, leaders such as the president of the EHF, the RFEBM, the Catalana or the Asobal League; former teammates such as Xavi O'Callaghan, Raúl Entrerríos, Juanín García, Enric Masip, Daniel Saric, Jesper Noddesbo, Laszlo Nagy, Antonio García, Óscar Grau or Joan Sagalés; the captains of other sections, such as Alexia Putellas, Sergio Lozano, Sergi Panadero, or the coaches Edu Castro, Jonathan Giráldez or Àlex Barbeito. Among all they kept it in the center of the Palau Blaugrana.
Also in attendance, outside the box (and club protocol), Iñaki Urdangarin, with his son Pablo, and the Infanta Cristina.