Mikkel Hansen to retire following the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
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Mikkel Hansen to retire following the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Mikkel Hansen, Handball Legend, Announces Retirement

Three-time IHF Male Player of the Year, three-time world champion, and both Olympic and European champion, Mikkel Hansen, has announced his retirement. The end of this season will mark the conclusion of his illustrious career, during which he established himself as one of the greatest handball players in history.

End of an Era Post Paris 2024 Olympics

The 36-year-old Hansen plans to retire after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. This is contingent on his selection by Denmark coach Nikolaj Jacobsen for the final roster, as he is currently recovering from a groin injury. He is working towards a comeback for his club, Aalborg Håndbold.

Hansen’s Reflections on His Career

Hansen expressed gratitude for his nearly two-decade-long career in handball. He stated, “For almost 20 years now, I have been so privileged to make a living from the sport I love. I have represented some of the biggest clubs in the world. I have always said that I wanted to stop on the day that the play, the joy and the dedication were no longer there. It still is. But I also think I’ve come to a place where I can feel that there are other things that draw me. Therefore, I feel that this summer is the perfect time to end my playing career.”

Record-Breaking Career

Hansen was a three-time MVP of the IHF Men’s World Championship, setting a record with 356 goals in the competition. He also won five medals in the world handball flagship competition – three gold and two silver. He was part of the Denmark team that made history with a three-peat at the IHF Men’s World Championship and a 30-match unbeaten streak.

The Denmark superstar scored 1350 goals in 266 matches for his national team. He was named the MVP at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the top goal scorer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the All-Star left back at multiple IHF Men’s World Championships and EHF EUROs.

Love for the Sport

“I will always have a huge love for the sport. I don’t think anyone will question that,” Hansen said during a press conference organised by his current club, Aalborg Håndbold.

Hansen’s Handball Journey

Hansen began his handball journey in his hometown of Helsingør as a junior, following in his father’s footsteps. His first senior club was GOG in 2005, after which he played for Barcelona, Copenhagen, Paris Saint-Germain, and finally Aalborg. Despite securing 33 titles at club level, Hansen expressed regret for not clinching the EHF Champions League Men or the IHF Men’s Super Globe.

Hansen’s Gratitude

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank a lot of people, not least my family. But certainly also coaches, fellow players, physiotherapists, physical trainers, team managers, agents and all the others who help shape a player. I have been extremely lucky to have met a lot of people who have wanted the best for me,” Hansen concluded.

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