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Team of the Week: Alison & Alvaro Filho

Lausanne, Switzerland, September 29, 2020 – A true icon in the world of men’s beach volleyball, blocker Alison Cerutti joined forces with defender Alvaro Morais Filho about a year and a half ago. Today, the Brazilian pair are third in the FIVB World Ranking, ready to represent their national federation at the Tokyo Olympics, and Volleyball World's Team of the Week.

Alison & Alvaro - Watch more on Volleyball TV

Alison’s shining path

34-year-old reigning Olympic champion Alison is one of the most decorated and most recognizable players on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. He is big and powerful, yet amiable and a fans’ favourite wherever he appears.

A bit of a late bloomer, Alison made his first occasional appearances in FIVB competition in his early 20s, alongside Harley Marques or Bernardo Romano. In late July 2007, aged 22, he showed up in Switzerland for his first World Tour event with Emanuel Rego as a partner and the two hammered out a Gstaad Grand Slam bronze, Alison’s first podium on the Tour.

Alison (left) celebrates his first World Tour gold alongside Pedro Cunha

About three months later, paired up with Pedro Cunha, Alison claimed his first World Tour gold, at the 2008 Bahrain Open in Manama.

2009 was a big year for Alison and Harley Marques. They medalled at eight of the 13 FIVB events they took part in and only once failed to make the quarterfinals, finishing ninth. That year they reached the final of the World Championships in Stavanger and took the silver.

Teaming up with Emanuel Rego

The following season marked the beginning of a new era in Alison’s career. This is when he and four-time Olympian (at the time) Emanuel Rego became regular teammates. In 2011, they topped the podium at the World Championships in Rome and finished the season as World Tour champions, another first for Alison.

Alison on the way to the top at the 2011 World Championships in Rome

At Alison’s first Olympic appearance at London 2012, he and Emanuel almost touched the gold, but lost the final to Germany’s Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann in three sets, conceding both the first set and the tie-breaker by the narrowest of margins in the overtime.

Olympic gold with Bruno

After four seasons together, the formidable Brazilian duo split in 2013. Alison teamed up with Bruno Oscar Schmidt in 2014 and another solid period followed, spanning through May 2018. In addition to winning numerous World Tour medals, Alison and Bruno became world champions and World Tour seasonal champions in 2015 and peaked at the Rio 2016 Olympics to delight the home fans with the gold medals.

After a relatively uneventful period of several months in partnership with young 2017 world champ Andre Loyola Stein, in the spring of 2019 Alison joined forces with Alvaro Morais Filho.

Alvaro Filho’s pre-Alison success

Alvaro was just 18 years old when he and Vitor Felipe claimed the silver medals at the 2009 FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in Blackpool. A year later, they did the same in Alanya.

In 2013, Alvaro joined forces with the legendary four-time Olympian and 2004 Olympic champ Ricardo Santos and at their second participation in a World Tour event, he celebrated his first Tour podium with a Shanghai Grand Slam bronze.

First World Tour gold for Alvaro Filho at Gstaad Grand Slam 2013

Some two months later, Alvaro and Ricardo finished runners-up at the 2013 World Championship in Stare Jablonki and claimed their first World Tour gold together at the Gstaad Grand Slam. Their successful path as a pair was interrupted in August 2014, but not forever as they ventured together again for one stop in 2016 and three more between October 2018 and March 2019. In between, Alvaro enjoyed occasional success with various partners, including Pedro Solberg, Vitor Felipe and Saymon Barbosa.

The start of a new era?

2.03m-tall Alison and 1.85m-tall Alvaro hit the road together for their first World Tour event at the Xiamen 4-star in late April 2019. Shortly after that at their second appearance, they struck their first gold on the Tour, at the Kuala Lumpur 3-star in early May.

Alison and Alvaro on the way to their first World Tour gold at Kuala Lumpur 2019

“Alvaro is perfect in defence, with good energy, and for me it’s great - I need this kind of athlete,” Alison told

"I'm very happy to be able to form this partnership with Alison. He is someone I admire not only for the achievements, but also for the attitudes. Alison is more than a partner; he is more than a friend. His attitude is also praiseworthy, showing his character and the way he thinks about beach volleyball. I’m enjoying every day, learning from him every day... I think he is the most professional athlete I met in beach volleyball,” Alvaro Filho commented.

With Tokyo 2020 on the horizon

In July, they claimed another gold at the Espinho 4-star, also adding two silvers at the Vienna 5-star and the Moscow 4-star in August, before wrapping up their first season as a team. Meanwhile, the Brazilian federation announced that the team would fill one of the country’s berths at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“When Alvaro and I joined forces, there was some fear that maybe we wouldn’t qualify. But once we started to know each other better and to progress as a team, this fear started to dissipate. We knew we had no room for mistakes, our motivation was sky-high from the start, but at times it was tough for us to deal with the limitations a new team would obviously have. We knew what we had to do, we continued working and remained confident. It was all very intense because a lot happened in such a short period of time, but we managed to control our positive and negative feelings and keep our goal in mind at all times. It wasn’t easy, but we’ve found a way to make it work and we’re enjoying it. Our first goal was to secure this Olympic spot and now we want to do everything we can to play at our best in Tokyo,” Alison said.

Finally back on the sand!

With the coronavirus pandemic taking its toll, Alison and Alvaro were forced to take a long break from the sand. Last week, however, they took the opportunity to resume competitive action by participating in the first event of Brazil’s 2020-2021 national tour and reached the quarterfinals of the tournament in Saquarema.

“I came back with renewed energy for a 'new Olympic year'. I really missed the training, the routine, the adrenaline... I missed all the 'suffering' at practice. We know that everything has changed in these six months - the world, the sport have changed. But I am happy to see how we got back - very focused, very well prepared. It has everything to be a great season. We will gradually increase the intensity - calmly, but pushing the pace,” Alison said.

“I am very happy with this return. Everyone needed this. We really like being here and competing. I am living a very special moment in my life and being able to come here and do what I like most is incredible,” added 29-year-old Alvaro, who is expecting the birth of his first child. 

Follow Alison and Alvaro on Instagram.

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