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English Macedonian

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TESTMONIALS Start Your Transformation
English Macedonian

An Interview with Ilija Abutović, Handball Player

Greetings to everyone. Today, I have the pleasure of sitting next to the Serbian handball icon of “RK Vardar,” Ilija Abutović. He was part of the legendary roster when the club conquered Europe and won the Champions League.

Ilija played in “RK Vardar” for seven years and, besides the Champions League, won SEHA League four times, the Macedonian Super League five times, and the Cup six times. Before coming to Skopje, he played for “Spartak Subotica” and “RK Partizan” from Serbia, and “RD Slovan” from Slovenia. After leaving “RK Vardar,” Ilija’s career continued in Germany in “Rhein-Neckar Löwen.” Furthermore, he represented Serbia internationally at the EHF EURO 2016.

Ilija Abutović plays as a left-back and is one of the greatest defensive players in the sport. Yet, this is only one of his many qualities. His hard work and motivation are the main driving forces for all of his achievements.

In this interview, Ilija will tell us what a champion’s life looks like and reveal his recipe for success. So, let’s hear the facts from our guest straightaway.

    Tose Zafirov

    Mr. Olympia Representative

    Greetings to everyone. Today, I have the pleasure of sitting next to the Serbian handball icon of “RK Vardar,” Ilija Abutović. He was part of the legendary roster when the club conquered Europe and won the Champions League.

    Ilija played in “RK Vardar” for seven years and, besides the Champions League, won SEHA League four times, the Macedonian Super League five times, and the Cup six times. Before coming to Skopje, he played for “Spartak Subotica” and “RK Partizan” from Serbia, and “RD Slovan” from Slovenia. After leaving “RK Vardar,” Ilija’s career continued in Germany in “Rhein-Neckar Löwen.” Furthermore, he represented Serbia internationally at the EHF EURO 2016.

    Ilija Abutović plays as a left-back and is one of the greatest defensive players in the sport. Yet, this is only one of his many qualities. His hard work and motivation are the main driving forces for all of his achievements.

    In this interview, Ilija will tell us what a champion’s life looks like and reveal his recipe for success. So, let’s hear the facts from our guest straightaway.

    Tose Zafirov:

    Hello, Ilija. I would like to begin by thanking you for this interview. Your name is one of the most famous in Macedonian and world handball history. So, when did you realize you wanted to play handball professionally, and how did you make this decision?

    Ilija Abutović:

    I started playing handball when I was ten years old. At the time, it was the most popular sport in my nation. It was also a sport of great tradition. Many famous athletes were well-known and successful because of it.

    Tose Zafirov:

    You are among the top handball players worldwide and have achieved great things in the past. But do you have anyone who you have been particularly fond of since you started playing handball professionally?

    Ilija Abutović:

    Of course, I had my idols when I started training. I can’t name just one; there were a lot of players I wanted to see as a kid.

    Tose Zafirov:

    How come you are this successful? Besides being physically fit, are there other qualities that play a major role in your overall success? In other words, what does it take to become the best of the best?

    Ilija Abutović:

    I’ve always wanted to train hard and to be at this current level. Due to this, I’ve always given 100% of myself to all of the training and matches.

    But there are other factors as well. What is important is to be consistent with training, nutrition, and rest. Since this is a collective sport, agreeing with the other players and practicing teamwork is important.

    Being a professional athlete is not easy at all.

    Tose Zafirov:

    How did you feel when you were still a part of “RK Vardar”? Did Macedonia leave a long-lasting impression on you? What was your experience like here, and what did you learn?

    Ilija Abutović:

    I spent seven years in “RK Vardar.” “RK Vardar” and Skopje are connected in a special way.

    I came to the club when it wasn’t that famous. But, when Sergei arrived, the club was over the top. The big results were starting to be visible, and the most legendary moment for me was when we won the Champions League in 2017. I will never forget that feeling and the warm welcome to Skopje when I arrived with “Rhein-Neckar Löwen.”

    Moments like those are the reason why every athlete is training hard. While we’re at it, I would like to thank the fans again. Because of them, I never felt like a stranger.

    Tose Zafirov:

    What distinguishes the best athletes and champions from the rest on the field, and what does it take to rise to the top? Can you name at least one trait?

    Ilija Abutović:

    There are many factors, in my opinion. But the main thing is the wish to be better and persistence alone. That’s what is essential for everyone to be successful.

    Tose Zafirov:

    After leaving “RK Vardar” and starting playing for the German team “Rhein-Neckar Löwen,” what was your biggest change, what did you have to adapt to, and what was the overall experience like?

    Ilija Abutović:

    Honestly, it was very difficult for me to leave “RK Vardar.” It was hard to get used to new things, and then there was a different language, culture, and styles of playing handball.

    This is my second year here, and I am slowly getting used to my new life as time goes by.

    Tose Zafirov:

    Macedonian and Balkan cuisines are more specific and different from German. Were there any difficulties you faced when you realized that the Balkan cuisine in Germany wasn’t that common?

    Ilija Abutović:

    I believe that our cuisine and food are the best. This was one of the most problematic things when I arrived here. To get used to German food. I think our gastronomy is much better than theirs.

    Tose Zafirov:

    What does it take to become a winner? How do you reach any goal you’ve put your mind to, and how do you motivate yourself to do so?

    Ilija Abutović:

    Well, to become a professional in any field requires a lot of effort and dedication. There are many ups and downs. You should first start with a dream, and when the dream becomes a goal, you will simply know that you are on the right track.

    Tose Zafirov:

    How did handball become a part of your life? How did you discover that you love the sport, and what drove you to pursue a professional career?

    Ilija Abutović:

    My biggest dream as a child was to play for one of Europe’s top teams and win the Champions League.

    Tose Zafirov:

    If you could send a message to the world, especially to people who are just starting out and dream of playing in some professional league like you, what would you tell them?

    Ilija Abutović:

    To become one of the best players in the game, you need to absolutely love handball, and you have to dream and breathe for it. You need to constantly train hard, even when you want to give up.

    Nothing is easy, but hard work is the only way to become one of the best.

    Final Words

    Thank you for your time, Ilija. It was a great experience to have a champion like you today here with us. I wish you success in the future, and hopefully, we will have a chance to talk again.

    If you want to find out all the details about Ilija’s career, feel free to visit his official Wikipedia Page.

    For more inspiring stories, feel free to check the Interviews page.

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