Spain’s Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa dream retirement a reality

14 Apr. 2024

Spain’s Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa dream retirement a reality

After appearing at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with Spain, the vastly experienced and influential Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa is on the cusp of realising her dream – to retire at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

With wins against Czechia and Argentina in Torrevieja, combined with wins against the same two by the Netherlands, it meant that Spain sealed their ticket for France in July, with Cabral set to appear in the global event to end her playing career.

The left back made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, where Spain suffered a heartbreaking additional time loss to France in the quarter-finals. They then followed that up with an appearance at Tokyo 2020 but missed out on the knock-out stages after ending on the same points as Hungary in the group but having lost their head-to-head battle.

“I never thought that I could go to three Olympic Games and right now it will be the last one for me – I  hope we can do something beautiful in Paris,” said Cabral, who turns 38 years old next month, to

“The first time (Rio 2016) for me we were really close and the second time (Tokyo 2020) was the changing generation, so, right now I think we can do something. I know we can go far because against Czechia, we showed that we can fight and we can do something beautiful. I hope the young girls they learn, and they keep working until July and then we will go and enjoy the Olympic Games.”

That fight was evident again when Spain trailed Argentina in their second match in Torrevieja for the entire first half and were made to work hard right until the last few minutes in a game which, on paper, had the European side as clear favourites.

“Ahead of the Argentina game was said we will really fight to get to Paris and for the young players, they have to learn that the game is not over at the start,” said the Brest Bretagne HB player about their clash with the South Americans.

“It was a really hard job and Argentina knows us very well. We have to congratulate them because they did a very good job to put us like that and it's true that we fought until the end.

“But it's a qualification tournament and each match is important and a fight. The other teams also have a dream and they will try and take their chance. 

“Sometimes it's a little bit hard, but sport is like that, we are really happy to win the game because although it was true that we could also draw (and qualify) we didn't want to, we wanted to win and with this, we did the job correctly – we are really happy our dreams come true and I'm really happy because my dream to get to Paris and finish my career there has come true too.”

Fight, focus and determination have all been in evidence in Torrevieja from the host nation, but something else too – happiness, fun and positivity. This has shone through the team across all positions and for Cabral, this can only be a good thing as they look to climb the Olympic mountain once again.

“You have to enjoy it because if we put pressure on ourselves we are not enjoying it,” she said. “We play handball because we like it, so the goal is to enjoy it and maybe, also, with the hard work you can achieve something.”

And could she end her career standing on an Olympic podium?

“This is this as far away, but we will try. Why not?”