“Despite the departures, PSG wants to be stronger”

Luc Steins, the best player of the last StarLigue season, asserts himself as one of the driving forces of PSG from 73 meters. The 27-year-old Dutch international is a well-known talent who has made no secret of his desire to push his limits even further. Now linked to the Paris outfit until 2026, he’s all but self-sustaining. Interview with Le Quotidien Du Sport and Handball magazine.

How are you ?

Everything is OK. It’s nice to go to the new season, find teammates, coach, staff and do a year of handball.

After a tough season, the holidays are definitely something to look forward to, but is the opponent quickly regaining their edge as they wait to reconnect with the competition?

We can say. After all, it should be normally (smiles). But I do not hide that I did not have a very comfortable vacation. It didn’t go as planned as all the trips were cancelled. We hope to think and cut something else during the vacation, but we had to go back there. But now that is in the past. I can’t wait to get back into competition.

Before we talk about the season, a little flashback to the last one. How have you had this incredible year for PSG in the league that named you the best StarLigue player?

What we do is history. To be able to play 30 games and have that many wins is unique in a career and a season. It was truly exceptional. There are only big teams in the league. We also wanted to go far in the Champions League. There were finer points. So this season we are working harder to be stronger with more ambition than usual.

But did you expect to end up with the best player of the season?

(Smiles) Of course, it’s nice, but I don’t forget that handball remains a team sport. We start the season not to become better players, but to become champions. It’s a good thing, but I don’t play handball for that.

“We start the season not to become better players, but to become champions”

Isn’t the best of the rewards finally extending the contract with PSG until 2026?

I am happy to continue my adventure at PSG. I’m really good in a team. I play the game I want to play with the coach. Even among the players, things are going well. Frankly, I had no reason to change clubs. I was really good at the time of the offer and in my case everything was in place to continue my adventure at PSG. It also allows me to be close to my family. Everything was resolved quickly and easily.

Having experienced linear progress with successive visits to Massy, ‚Äč‚ÄčTremblay, Toulouse and now Paris, are you living a waking dream?

I came to help the team at the beginning (he was loaned by Toulouse in November 2020, editor’s note). The players, the staff and the club put me in the best position to succeed immediately. They helped me well both on and off the pitch. It’s never easy to join a team during the season, but I think it can only work out well at PSG. We immediately found our mutual connection. And this season continues.

When you started your career, did you think you would be a strong member of a team like PSG?

I don’t work like that. I’m not one to set career goals. We always look at the biggest teams and the biggest players. I cannot deny it. Especially since they are on TV more often (laughs). It’s great to be able to play. But I’ve always been one step at a time.

I just tried to grow in the best places possible. It is not possible to come directly to PSG from the Netherlands. I slowly made my way. First on Massy and Tremblay. I tried to take the best from each club. In the end, when PSG calls you, you can’t say no. That’s why I came. Try me for six months first. In the end it went well and I stayed.

Do you feel like you’ve progressed in recent years?

I never thought I could go this far. Later, if we go step by step, we move forward at our own pace. I always tried to set myself small goals that I could achieve. I didn’t think about it because I was aiming for a club like Paris. I have always worked hard to improve myself and be the best I can be. Finally, hard work pays off.

Luc Steins is changing his status

Has your status changed in the Netherlands? Do you see that in the practices you organize there over the summer?

This is one of my main motivations. I am trying to bring handball to the highest level in the Netherlands. I try to organize courses and work with associations to develop handball and welcome as many people as possible. I wish to develop my sport in my country. Handball is still a minor sport. But it’s too good not to try.

There is still a step to be taken to make it equal to handball in France or other countries. Then the internships allow me to work with young people and bring in people from different backgrounds and other sports like soccer. I want to show that handball is a beautiful sport. And then I dream that one day I will be able to play one of my experiences with a former player (smiles).

A new season begins at PSG. But with what ambitions?

We hope and strive to continue to win everything. But the championship continues to be super tense. We saw that this summer. It will not be easy to continue the series like ours. You have to be alert and careful to win the matches. It is up to us to work harder than them to become even stronger. That’s what preparation is for. New players coming will help us. The team is already good. We get along well with each other. We will have to show it in the game. I hope we will continue our series and go further.

“We are trying to keep winning everything, but the championship is getting very difficult”

Do you feel that the quality of the French championship is reduced to a minimum because of your record?

It is enough to see our results to understand that we win even in difficult and tight matches. It was not easy. It was not normal (sic) to do that. What we got is exceptional. This also allows to be the locomotive of the championship. It is heavy. No game is easy. You should always be alert and careful not to be surprised.

Do you think a Champions League victory could finally mark the vindication of what has been done at PSG in recent years?

The club is working to achieve this. Everyone wants to show it on the field. Although the opponents are strong in the league, they are even stronger in the Champions League. It is not easy to win it. There are 8 teams that are always tied and want to win it. In the end, only one team wins.

Luc Steins is not afraid of the calendar

Do you think a busy schedule in selections, along with back-to-back matches at the club, could punish PSG, who have so many international players?

We play a lot. You have to understand that it is not easy for players to keep up. Especially without the risk of injury. Sometimes we play with wounds. We keep going and keep winning. People think it’s simple, but if you don’t feel good, you can’t win like you do, even in small teams. People tend to forget the sequence of matches in the league, Champions League, domestic cups and qualifiers. This is not clear. PSG have seen plenty of signings this summer.

Is it important to bring in new blood to start a new era?

It’s never good to lose players like we lost, but there are new players coming in at a high level. They come with new energy. It is up to us to make sure we welcome them to become even stronger. Sometimes it may take time, but we will do our best to reconcile quickly on the field.

Can you get tired of lifting trophies?

(Laughs) Not for me. I haven’t been in the club so long that I’m tired of it. Some are used to it, but still, winning a title is always special.

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