Lausanne, Switzerland, August 29, 2017 - The list of stars who have played in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup since the competition was launched in 1993 is a veritable who’s who of global volleyball.
However, one player stands out in the history of this spectacular event, which brings together the top national teams from each continent in the year after each Olympic Games.
This year's event will take place in Japan from September 5 to 10 (Women) and from September 12 to 17 (Men), a month after the end of the 2017 edition of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix.
It goes without saying that Brazil’s men are once again involved and, as defending champions and Olympic gold medallists, are among the favourites to do well. The Brazilians will more than likely be led by a man who was instrumental on the last two occasions that the South Americans triumphed in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup, in 2009 and 2013, namely Bruno Rezende. However, it was two other global stars who were named the MVPs at the last two editions of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup.
In 2009, Cuba’s Robertlandy Simón was not only voted the most valuable player in the tournament, but also scooped the titles of best blocker and best server. In 2013, giant Russian Dmitriy Muserskiy was named MVP, joining a long list of international stars. In 1993, when the competition made its debut, Italy were number one with top players like Andrea Giani, Lorenzo Bernardi and Andrea Gardini. Four years later, top-scoring Nalbert Bitencourt led Brazil to their first victory in the competition. In 2001, Yugoslavian volleyball legend Ivan Miljkovi? was the top scorer and named MVP, before Brazil’s André Nascimento repeated the same feat in 2005.
In the women's competition, Brazil are again the most successful nation, winning in 2005 and 2013. Two players were instrumental in those successes and have really made their mark on the tournament. Sheilla Castro was top scorer and MVP in 2005, while Fabiana Claudino was most recently named the most valuable player in 2013. The two South Americans are among a list of global stars to have showcased their very best at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup.
Cuba triumphed when the new competition made its debut in 1993. The outstanding player for “Las Morenas del Caribe” was the powerful Regla Bell, who was named both best spiker and MVP. The top scorer was Russia’s Yevgeniya Artamonova. She repeated this feat four years later – and, as MVP, led Russia to its first and only triumph to date in the history of the FIVB Volleyball Grand Champions Cup. In 2001, her teammate Yekaterina Gamova was the top scorer – however, the title went to China, thanks in no small part to the efforts of MVP Yang Hao.