Nalbert, Virna weigh in on new Superliga season
Nalbert Bitencourt, who played no fewer than six seasons of Super League, says the teams are much more balanced now than in his day, when the fight for the title was generally restricted to two teams.
“Today, I see a wider range of teams that will fight for the title,” said Nalbert. “If a team can get in a good result, even if they are not seen as a favorite, they could take off. On the men’s side, I’d highlight Sesi-SP, RJX and Sada Cruzeiro as the major forces. They’re all starting at about the same level. Just below them, I’d put Vivo/Minas and Medley/Campinas.”
Nalbert, who is now a SporTV commentator, ambassador of the Bank of Brazil, sports marketer and motivational speaker, said the women’s division is a bit more sharply divided.
“I split the Women’s Superliga into three levels,” said Nalbert. “Sollys/Nestlé are first, the absolute favorite, just based on their roster. I think they're better than Unilever, which I’d put on a second level along with Zé Roberto’s Volleyball Amil. Sesi-SP would be in a third block.”
Double Olympic medallist Virna Dias also shared her views on the upcoming season.
"Sollys/Nestlé and Unilever remain the leading forces of the competition,”said Virna. “Osasco The team has the basis for the selection and Unilever Olympic champion was reinforced with the arrival of Fofão and Logan Tom Without telling Natalya What is the future of our volleyball, "he said Virna, who also cited the teams Amil / Campinas-SP and Sesi as possible surprises.
In addition to her Olympic exploits, Virna is the holder of four titles in most important club competition in Brazil. The former player lifted the champions trophy with Uniban-SP in the 1998-1999 season, with Flamengo-RJ in 2000-2001, with NCB/Osasco-SP in 2002-2003, and with Rexona Ades-PR in 2008-2009.The mother of two boys is now a commentator and consultant.
Regardless of who wins, though, she says the Superliga always delivers unforgettable experiences for both players and the audience.
“This competition was remarkable in my life,” said Virna. “Championships have always been very well-matched. I remember the title with Uniban. We had a lovely time, with Fofão, La Janina, Ida Patricia and Coco. We were not the favorites, but we beat the Rexona team in the decision.”
Favourite Superliga memories
Athough she appreciates all her teams’ achievements, Virna can’t hide her particular fondness for the title she won with Flamengo-RJ.
“We were fourth in the league and just overcame, it was amazing,” said Virna. “We won at home. The group came together and all gave great performances.”
She said the final against Vasco at Maracanãzinho was one of the best games of his life.
"I'll never forget that day. I just think back to that whole building screaming my name and I'm thrilled. Vasco had a great team, but I knew that title would be ours. We were inspired that day. Even today people remember that end. It was decided on an epic tiebreak.”
For Nalbert, the first (1994-1995) and last (2004-2005) Superliga seasons are the ones he feels the most affection for.
“Surely, the greatest memory I have was the last Superliga that I competed in. I’d spent five seasons away from Brazil. Then in 2004 I repatriated to join Banespa, the same club that gave me a great opportunity early in my career. We finished as champions for my farewell. And that was that final series against Mines!”
The decision between Banespa and Telemig/Minas went to a fifth game in a crowded Mineirinho before a winner could be determined.
“And we were not ever mentioned as favourites at the start of that competition. We managed to win that title with a team of kids. We had Filipe, now in Sada Cruzeiro, and Rivaldo. I was 30. After me, the next oldest player was 24. We closed that series final 3-2. What a farewell!”