Sada Cruzeiro players celebrate during a state championship game on the way to their first trophy of the season (Photo: Agênciai7 / sadacruzeiro.com.br)
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 12, 2019 – One of the most decorated teams in the history of the men’s FIVB Volleyball Club World Championships, Brazil’s Sada Cruzeiro Volei Belo Horizonte, are all geared up to host the event for the fifth time as the 2019 edition is set to take place in Betim from December 3 through 8.
In the Club World Championship’s all-time honours list, Sada Cruzeiro have three titles (all won at home), one silver and one bronze to their name, standing second only to five-time world champions and seven-time medallists Trentino Volley of Italy. The Brazilian powerhouse claimed the crown in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
At their debut at the Club World Championships in 2012 in Doha, they finished runners-up. 2014 was the only time when they hosted the tournament but did not triumph as winners, finishing fourth. In 2017, the team from Belo Horizonte took bronze in Poland, and in the latest edition in 2018, also in Poland, they fell just short of making the semifinals. Sada Cruzeiro have been Club World Championship regulars since 2012 and this will be their eighth consecutive appearance.
Sada Cruzeiro triumph as the 2016 club world champions
With such an impressive history behind them, the reigning South American club champions also boast a high-level roster to cope with the strong competition at the Club World Championships – namely European champs Cucine Lube Civitanova of Italy, Asian Club Championship bronze medallists Al-Rayyan of Qatar and European Champions League runners-up Zenit Kazan of Russia.
A 2016 Olympic champion with Brazil, 37-year-old opposite Evandro Guerra, who was also on the Sada Cruzeiro squad that claimed the latest Club World Championship title in 2016, is already into his fourth season with the club.
Another distinguished Brazilian international, 28-year-old middle blocker Isac Santos, winner of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball World Cup and the 2019 South American Championship with the national team, will be vying for his fourth Club World Championship gold, after playing for Sada Cruzeiro in their three previous quests for the title.
39-year-old receiver Filipe Ferraz tops even that. He has been with the club since 2010 and has earned all five of Sada Cruzeiro’s Club World Championship medals as well as the six South American Club Championship crowns, the six national championship titles, the four national cups and the three Brazilian Super Cup trophies that Sada Cruzeiro have claimed in their club history.
23-year-old setter Fernando Kreling, a national team gold medallist at the 2019 World Cup and the 2019 South American Championship, is the other athlete who has previously won Club World Championship titles (in 2015 and 2016) with Sada Cruzeiro and is still in the line-up for the upcoming edition. Staying on from last year’s bronze-medal squad are also opposite Luan Weber and libero Lucas Kehl Bauer.
The Sada Cruzeiro roster for the 2019-2020 season has been reinforced with two high-profile foreign additions – 30-year-old outside spikers and Olympians – Argentine international Facundo Conte, MVP of the 2015 Pan American Games and Dream Teamer of the 2015 Champions League, and Canadian international John Gordon Perrin, Dream Teamer of the 2015 NORCECA Championship.
Experienced Brazilian players like 39-year-old setter Rodrigo Leme, 32-year-old libero Lucas de Deus and 28-year-old middle blocker Otavio Pinto have also joined the team. 28-year-old outside Hugo Hamacher has returned to the Sada Cruzeiro roster as well. Within a line of young players, the name that grabs the most attention is that of 21-year-old middle blocker Cledenilson Batista, who won gold at the 2019 South American Championship and bronze at the 2019 Pan American Games with the Brazilian national team.
For the team of long-time Sada Cruzeiro coach Marcelo Mendez, the 13th season of existence started with a new trophy, the 35th in the club’s history. On November 2, they claimed their 11th Minas Gerais State Championship title. Five days later, the team from Belo Horizonte failed to add another one to their showcase as they lost the Brazilian Super Cup final to reigning champions EMS Taubate FUNVIC in four sets. With 13 points each from Perrin and Isac, Sada Cruzeiro recovered for a 3-1 away win at Pacaembu Ribeirao Preto in the first leg of the new Brazilian Super League season on Saturday. Marcelo Mendez’s side will play four more Super League matches before the start of the Club World Championship.
“We have very good expectations from our participation in this tournament of the utmost importance,” said coach Mendez. “It will be a very difficult championship, where we are going to play against teams and athletes of the best international level. I believe that by then we will be well integrated and at our best shape as a team, ready to face these powerful opponents. Luckily we will play in front of our fans. We have won three times in Betim and I think the team is prepared and willing to win again.”