Times have changed. A look back at the history of the
event reveals that last season’s winners - Sada Cruzeiro - were the first non-Italian
club to win the competition.
After four World Championship titles in a row, the star team from Trentino crashed out to 2013 European Champions League winners Lokomotiv Novosibirsk from Russia at the semifinal stage. The title went to a non-European team for the first time, with local heroes Sada Cruzeiro and their MVP Wallace Souza emerging victorious after an outstanding achievement in their 3-0 victory over Novosibirsk in the final in front of 7200 fans.
It really was a historic moment. Since its debut in 1989, the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship had been dominated by Italian teams. The prestigious competition was originally started as a way of comparing the best volleyball teams from different continents. Six teams took part in the inaugural competition in Parma, Italy. Hosts Maxicono Parma, with stars Andrea Zorzi and Andrea Giani in their squad, were victorious over CSKA Moscow and two Brazilian teams.
In later editions of the competition, which grew to include eight participating clubs, South America’s volleyball stars proved to be the biggest challenge for the dominant Italians. Mediolanum Milano and Messaggero Ravenna won the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship titles in 1990 and 1991 respectively, with Banespa São Paulo finishing second on both occasions. Italian superiority, however, was reaffirmed when Misura Milano won ahead of hosts Sisley Treviso at the fourth edition in 1992. Olympiakos Piraeus finished third that year, making them the only Greek club to have stood on the podium.
The competition in 1992 was followed by a 17-year break during which the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship was not held. In 2009 it made its comeback, hosted by Doha, and this heralded the spectacular run of success for the volleyball players from Trentino. The team coached by Radostin Stoytchev was victorious in the final, beating Polish side PGE Skra Belchatow 3-0, while captain Matey Kaziyski was awarded MVP.
“It was a very important tournament for us and we were very keen to emerge as champions here. This is my third year with the team and we have won three major titles. Previously we bagged the Italian League and European Champions’ League crowns”, said Kaziyski. The reward was 250,000 dollars in prize money.
A year later, both clubs met again in the final – and once again it was Trentino celebrating after the match ended 3-1, although they had previously suffered a 0-3 defeat at the hands of the Poles in the European Champions League. Osmany Juantorena was awarded MVP. Paykan Tehran were the first team from Iran to finish third in a world championship.
In 2011, the final was contested by teams from Italy and Poland for the third time in a row. This time, Trentino’s Juantorena was awarded MVP. The Italians went on to beat Jastrz?bski W?giel 3-1.
“It was an incredible final,” said Kaziyski, Trentino captain. “Both teams played at a very high level. We have taken part in this championship for several years now and are looking forward to returning next year.”
And what a return it turned out to be for Trentino, who defeated Brazilian side Sada Cruzeiro 3-0 in the 2012 edition of the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship in Doha. Everything was almost the way it had been in previous years. Osmany Juantorena completed the MVP hat-trick and Trentino's leader Kazyiski celebrated a fourth successive victory: “We are part of history now.”
In 2013, however, Sada Cruzeiro wrote a new chapter in the history of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship and became the first non-Italian team to win the competition. Will they hold on to their title this year or could it go to another unexpected winner?
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