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30/01/2019 14:00
CEV EuroVolley 2019 Men a huge reward – Romania’s setter Cristian Bartha
CEV EuroVolley 2019 Men

Bucharest, Romania, January 30, 2019. When he learned that France were one of the four countries co-hosting CEV EuroVolley 2019 Men, the setter of the Romanian national team, Cristian Bartha, wished for the draw to ‘send’ his team to Montpellier. When he found out that this eventually happened, Cristian felt like he had received a reward for his entire career.

Cristian Bartha is 34 years old and even if he started playing Volleyball in Romania, he has had a connection with France ever since he was 15. His father, Gyula Bartha, was one of the greatest Romanian players and coaches, winning several titles with Steaua BUCURESTI and training both Romanian national teams. After that, Gyula moved to France where he trained several men’s teams and from the very moment that his son came to France, at the age of 15, Gyula made a radical decision. He told Cristian the following: “From now on I will only train girls; I do not want anyone to say that I have interfered in your career, and you have to make it yourself.” After that move, Gyula became vice-champions of France with Villeurbanne.

Meanwhile, Cristian’s career developed in France, spending eight years in Martigues, Annecy, Aix-en-Provence, Chaumont, Cannes and Nice. After this span, Bartha returned to Romania where he won two championship titles with SCMU CRAIOVA and Tricolorul MVP PLOIESTI.

Cristian Bartha together with his little daughters Lea and Zoe

For Bartha, the connection with France is even stronger, since he is married to Charlotte, a former Volleyball player from Cannes, and together they have two children: 2-year-old Lea and Zoe, who is one year and two months old. Both girls have dual citizenship, Romanian and French.

“When I heard we would play in Montpellier, I was very happy. My wife’s family lives pretty close to the Côte d’Azur, so they will all come to the games. They will support France for the European title, but in the opening match, France vs Romania, I am sure that all of Charlotte’s family will be supporting Romania. Moreover, there is a large Romanian community living in the area, so we will have many supporters in Montpellier,” Bartha said.

Cristian believes that it was very difficult for the Romanian national team to come back to the European stage – and they do so for the first time since 1995. “I have been a member of the national team for 11 years and, sadly, every time it ended ugly. Regardless of the group, our national team failed to qualify for all major competitions. This happened year after year, competition after competition. We felt like we somehow got used to this trend. This time the pool seemed tough, and everyone hoped for us to beat Denmark twice and get something from the matches with Finland. However, things went differently; the ambiance in the team was very good and we have had the same coach for the last five years; moreover, the players on the team have been pretty much the same as well,” Bartha continues. “We started to get to know each other better, to get better, the young ones grew up nicely, and the experienced ones started to show their value. We started to look like a team and so we beat Finland twice, a much stronger team than ours. Who would have thought that would happen?” he asks.