One way of interpreting FC Barcelona's slogan of “more than a club” is to see the great Catalan institution as a representative of the nation. However, Barça is also more than just a club in the sense that it offers a complete range of sports all played at the highest level. We all know about the achievements of the club's football section, but its other players also regularly achieve glory in a host of different sports.
One of the main ones is handball, and one of the club's high achievers is Victor Tomàs, who has been a regular in the first team squad since he made the step up from the academy in the 2002/03 season. A left-hander who plays on the right wing, Tomàs has become a fan favourite for his explosive speed and attacking threat, characteristics that have seen him honoured with the captaincy.
In Tomàs's debut season with the Barça first team, the club won the Liga ASOBAL championship, a feat they have repeated five more times since then, most recently in the 2013/14 season. In fact, last season was a historic one for the Barça handball team – and for Tomàs – with a total haul of five trophies in a great year for the team that saw them undefeated in 30 league matches and scoring a record number of goals (1,146) into the bargain.
Along with the national league title in 2013/14, Barça also won the Copa ASOBAL (which Tomàs has won three times in his career), the Supercopa de España (the sixth time for Tomàs), the Copa del Rey (Tomàs's fifth time) and the Supercopa de Catalunya (Tomàs's second time).
Not surprisingly, the Barça handball captain has also become a regular in the Spain national side. In 2008, in the Beijing Olympic Games, Tomàs won a bronze medal after Spain beat Croatia to third place. Tomàs won another bronze medal this year with Spain in the European Men's Handball Championship, when Spain again beat Croatia. However, Tomàs's proudest international moment was in the World Men's Handball Championship in 2013, when Spain defeated Denmark in the final to claim gold.
Nor is the sport of handball purely a professional matter for Tomàs, as the Barça winger married Hege Bolstad in June this year. Bolstad is the Norwegian goalkeeper for the Castelldefels women's handball team.
Though there are traces of ball-throwing games going back to Roman times, the modern version of handball dates back to the 19th century, when the sport was codified. Nevertheless, it took until 1946 until the International Handball Federation was formed. Today there are some 174 member federations, and the sport is most popular in continental Europe. European countries have won every men's world championships since 1938, and all women's titles until 2013, when Brazil broke the series. However, this also shows how the game is gaining popularity in other parts of the world, which include the Far East and North Africa.
Handball is played between two teams of seven players, playing on a (usually) indoor court that measures 40 by 20 metres with a goal at each end. Goals are scored frequently, with both teams scoring at least 20, or even 30, goals each in a match.
Víctor Tomás is a Barça man through and through. He joined the club as a schoolboy back in 1998, debuting for the first team only four years later and today is the club's handball captain. Barça is a club that breeds champions and as we can see from Tomàs's stats, he is a man very much in-line with the Barça philosophy of success.
Date of birth.
Liga ASOBAL titles.
Copa ASOBAL trophies.
Copa del Rey trophies.
Supercopa de España trophies.