The privileged few who will cross the barrier gestures to enter the Pierre-de-Coubertin stadium this Thursday evening (kick-off at 8:45 pm live on BeIN Sport) will necessarily recognize the number 19 worn by a player from the Norwegian club of Elverum.
In this room, the guy is at home: he played hundreds of matches between 2012 and 2020, winning the trifle of 7 French league titles.
He went discreetly to other horizons during confinement, heading for Scandinavia to finish an extraordinary career.
He is at the head of one of the most prestigious awards in French sport: Luc Abalo.
[TICKETS] ⚠️ last places available to attend this @ ehfcl match and @lucabalo's return to the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium
- PSG Handball (@psghand) October 14, 2020
The hero's return
The pandemic and containment prevented him in the spring from saying goodbye to the capital.
But the native of Ivry does not return to Paris for that, nor for a jubilee a month after his 36th birthday.
He comes to play a Champions League match with the most successful club (11) in the Norwegian league.
Abalo now lives in a town of 20,000 people a two hour drive from Oslo.
He discovered it last season since PSG and Elverum have already faced each other.
Just before the end of the season, the international winger had beaten his future partners in Coubertin (31-25).
A king's welcome in Norway
When he arrived in Norway on September 9, Luc Abalo was greeted like a king as he stepped off the plane.
Hundreds of fans made him a guard of honor on the way with black and white flags in the colors of the club and shouts of joy.
The two-time Olympic champion does not yet master the Norwegian language but on the pitch, he does not need it.
In two Champions League games against Porto (30-28) and Kielce (22-31), he has scored three times.
PSG must finally win
Once the tribute and the thanks that the Parisians will show when presenting the teams to their friend, it will be for them to play a very important match.
Because PSG remains on two defeats (defeat against Flensbourg 29-28 and Brest 32-31) in the Champions League.
Qualifying for the next round in this endless competition is obviously not in danger.
But it does not look good in the table: faced with a Norwegian team which has a victory for a loss, we must react.