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Andrea Giani: “Only the present matters”

Italian legend Andrea Giani in his role as Germany coach
Lausanne, Switzerland, October 10, 2017 – Andrea Giani is regarded as one of the most versatile volleyball players in the history of the sport. In a remarkable career that spanned from 1990 to 2003, he held the record number of caps for the Italian men’s national team. He was crowned world champion three times, European champion on four occasions, was an FIVB Volleyball World League titlist seven times, and an FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup and FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup winner.

The only success missing from his CV is an Olympic gold, but the Italian legend still earned two silver medals and a bronze between 1996 and 2004. And his dream now is to win an Olympic gold as a coach. He led Slovenia to silver at the European Championship then gold at the 2016 FIVB Volleyball World League Group 3 Finals. This year, he bagged silver at the European Championships with Germany.

In an exclusive interview with, Giani spoke about how he started out in volleyball, his time as a volleyball player, and his job as a coach.

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How did you start out in volleyball?
Andrea Giani:
Before that, I was into rowing. My father was a rower and took part at the Tokyo 1964 Olympics. I started playing volleyball when I was 12 years old when my teacher asked me if I would like to play.

Why do you like volleyball?
It appeals to me because you are really useful to your teammates, as each player has to pull their weight in the game. There are always two completely different fundamentals – attack and defence – that have to work perfectly together.

Did you play volleyball with your family?
Yes, with my brother Massimo. I played with him for two years.

What is more important for you – talent or hard work? Which coach influenced you the most?
Giani: Both are important. Talent is enough to get to a certain level, but hard work enables you to play at a high level. Coaches (Julio) Velasco and Bebeto (De Freitas) really helped me to reach that high standard.

What was the best moment in your career?
I’ve won a lot of titles in my career. I’ve been very fortunate to play in strong teams throughout my career. Every final I’ve played in with either club or national team is important, because everyone makes sacrifices to get to the final.

What does it mean do be a legend of the sport?
To be considered a legend is nice, but the present is more important. I have seen a lot of talent, but my old national team was an incredible team full of incredible players.

How has the game of volleyball changed since you started your career?
The big changes were the introduction of the rally point system and the libero. However, the techniques and tactics in the sport have not really changed.

What are the biggest challenges ahead?
There will be stronger countries and the level will improve. As coach, I have to think about the players’ technique.

What is more difficult – playing or coaching?
They are totally different. The athletes can take action to influence things out on the court, while the coach can only use words.

What are your main goals as a coach?
I am only focusing on improving my players. The results are the consequence of how I do my job.

Where do you keep all your medals?
I keep them in a special room.


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