Romania’s handball star Cristina Neagu and French Nikola Karabatic were voted World Players of the Year 2016, the International Handball Federation (IHF) announced.
“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,” reads the IHF statement.
In the women’s category, Neagu won the fan vote clearly with 37%, ahead of Norwegian Nora Mork (21%), who ranked second. Neagu won no trophies last year, but she reached the EHF Champions League final four with her team. She also played for Romania at the Rio Olympics and World Championship, where the national team finished fifth.
Born on August 26, 1988, Cristina Neagu began her career at Rulmentul Brasov (2006-2009), making her debut when she was only 18 years old. A year later, she was summoned to the senior team of Romania, being part of the team that played at the World Championship in France.
Between 2009 and 2013, Neagu played for Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, winning a total of four gold medals in Women’s Handball National League. In 2014, after Oltchim disappeared, she decided to sign with ZRK Buducnost in Montenegro, a team with which she won the Champions League in 2015.
In February this year, Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea announced that Cristina Neagu would return home to play for CSM Bucuresti, the municipality’s club. She has been playing for ZRK Buducnost (Montenegro) since 2014 but has now signed a two-year contract with CSM Bucuresti.
Irina Popescu, [email protected]