Brazilian Marcus Vinicius de Souza receives during the Men's Club World Championship
Betim, Brazil, December 3, 2019 – The last time Marcus Vinicius Costa played a volleyball match in Brazil was back in 2014, but the 25-year-old outside hitter is back in his home country this week for good reason as his team, Qatar’s Al-Rayyan Sports Club, take part in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship in Betim.
One of the stars of the Asian team, which also has Portuguese opposite Marco Ferreira and Montenegro’s outside hitter Marko Vukasinovic among its most important players, Marcus has been with Al-Rayyan since 2015 and has won numerous trophies with the Qatari side.
Earlier this year, the team finished third at the Asian Championship and qualified for the Club World Championship, considered by the Brazilian the most important tournament of his career.
“It’s certainly the biggest tournament of my career,” the Brazilian said. “We’re playing the best teams in the world and several of the biggest stars of the sport. It’s a great experience for all of us and even though we’re very aware that the investment level of the three others teams is massively larger than ours, we obviously want to play the best we can and see how far we can go.”
The Brazilian outside hitter scored six points against Lube Civitanova in Al-Rayyan's debut
The tournament at the Ginasio Poliesportivo Divino Braga also provides a platform for the outside hitter to be recognized in his own country. After moving to Qatar, Marcus played for some mid-level teams in Brazil, but he’s not yet a well-known face in his home country like several of his fellow Brazilians who play overseas.
“That will be nice, it’s been a while since I last played in Brazil,” he reflected. “I made the decision of playing overseas a few years ago as I was looking for some financial stability and I’m very happy in Qatar. I would love to play in Brazil at some point in my career but it is not a priority right now. But it would certainly be nice to have people know more about me as a player and my work and all volleyball fans will be watching the tournament.”
Marcus is just one of several international players who are part of Al-Rayyan’s roster. The team is coached by a fellow Brazilian, Carlos Schwanke, who’s an assistant coach with the country’s national team.
Ending his fifth season with the club, the outside hitter is grateful for the opportunity he had to join one of the most traditional teams in Qatar and the multiple titles and individual awards he has won since then, but also for the experiences outside the courts.
During his time with Al-Rayyan, Marcus also had a chance to share the court with international stars like France's Earvin N'Gapeth and Poland's Wilfredo Leon.
“They opened the doors to me and I’m very grateful,” Marcus Vinicius explained. “When I got there I couldn’t speak English, so that was something I had to learn. Now I can speak a little bit of Arabic too. And just to be involved in a different culture, that’s priceless. I’ve been enjoying my time there a lot.”