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16. 04. 2018

EXCLUSIVE FOR WoV: Zbigniew Bartman – „I never said ’no’ to national team“

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Hiring Zbigniew Bartman from Galatasaray HDI Sigorta last summer turned to be a jackpot for UPCN San Juan Vóley Club as he was on the front line in their fight to dethrone the fiercest rivals Personal Bolívar in the Argentinean men’s volleyball championship Liga Argentina de Voleibol Banco Nación.


A 30-year-old Polish opposite Zbigniew Bartman became a hero of UPCN fans this season. He was, unequivocally, the most prominent player of the club in its battle for winning the 2017/18 Liga Argentina over defending champions, Bolívar.

Numbers don’t lie. Bartman was the best scorer of the tournament with 346 points and was named the MVP of the finals. Thus, he added his third gold medal in the club competition, the seventh overall in a career, and third individual award. If he was summoned to play for Poland national team, for which he collected 137 caps, in the last five years, his showcase would be more filled.

You have played in many countries and in many leagues during your rich career. So, how would you compare this season in Argentina, and quality of the volleyball in its national championship, to some of your previous seasons?

„I really enjoyed playing in Argentina. The things you notice from the very beginning is that every team plays amazing defense. Usually, you have to sweat a lot to make a point. Also, teams play much more with their middle blockers than in Europe. Overall, the level is good and the league is very competitive,“ Bartman started his interview to our website.

How would you compare UPCN in terms organization, finances, stability, squad, etc, to the clubs in which you played before?

„UPCN is one of the very best clubs in South America and I mean it in every aspect you can think of. During the season, I had few issues and the club handled them with big care and professionalism. The squad was strong and, if somebody was not matching the requested level, he was replaced by a new player.“

The rivalry between UPCN and Bolívar is one of the biggest rivalries in the world volleyball at the moment. How did you see it?

„Yes, it’s definitely El Clasico! Games between UPCN and Bolívar are always big battles, but I think that they need each other. The ’Cold War’ between these two teams is helping them to become better in every aspect and it’s pushing the league in a good direction because all other clubs are chasing the two leaders.“

How did you feel when you received the MVP of the finals award?

„It was very pleased that my contribution throughout the entire season was noticed. I wouldn’t achieve this without my amazing teammates, who were supporting me from my first day in Argentina.“

How did you and your teammates celebrate winning the title?

„We had a club dinner and after a team party. Next day we played a football game against our staff, obviously, we won by a 5-1 (laughter). After the game, we discussed our football performance enjoying a typical Argentinian asado (slowly grilled beef over hot coals, a traditional food in Argentina).“

In UPCN, you played as an opposite, in some previous clubs you played as an outside hitter. Which position is the best for you?

„It was the first time in my career that I started the season playing as an outside hitter and finished it as an opposite. I’m happy that the transition went really fluent and I could help my team in the difficult moment. Which position do I like more? I like both! It’s really difficult to decide, but a lot of coaches I worked with were telling me ’opposite is your position’.“

You were one of the few players who had the courage to criticize the frequent change of coaches in Poland national team. What is your opinion on the latest choice of the Polish federation - Vital Heynen?

„I never had the opportunity to work with Vital. So it’s very difficult for me to judge what kind of a coach is he. For sure he has a big personality.“

Is there a chance that you return to playing for Poland national team after five years?

„I never said ’no’ to the national team. It’s just that no one of the new coaches liked me enough to call me.“

Where will you play next season?

„I’m not sure yet. I just got home from Argentina, more thinking about holidays than the next season, but it’s true that UPCN is talking with me about staying for next year.“

Check out more Interviews.


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