It's a month to go before the world's top domestic volleyball league kicks off for another season - and defending champions of the Italian men's SuperLega, Cucine Lube Civitanova are about to embark on a quest for their seventh title.
Lube redefined in quest for seventh Italian title
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Published 08:00, 10 Sep 2021
Lube are the reigning club world champions - even if they lost their European title last season - and, of course, are last season's Italian champions - a heavy responsibility to carry going into the 2021-22 season.
But at the Civitanova-based club, they're not resting on their laurels.
Two huge names of international volleyball have joined the ranks of Lube as the club tries to retain its supremacy.
Brazilian outside hitter Ricardo Lucarelli, in his second season abroad, has switched allegiance and has moved from Trentino to Lube.
The 29-year-old Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist is expected to give Lube a massive boost and thrill the club's fans in Italy and across the world when the Super League takes off on 10 October - with Lube travelling to Kioene Padova for their opening match.
Lucarelli will be replacing Cuba-born Yoandy Leal, who after three seasons with Lube moves to Modena.
In the opposite position is Lube's other big addition to the 2021-22 roster. After a year in Russia with Kuzbass Kemerovo, Ivan Zaytsev returns to Italy to join Lube, replacing Luxembourg's Kamil Rychlicki who has moved to Sir Safety Conad Perugia.
Alongside Lucarelli and Zaytsev, fans can look forward to being entertained by Lube's stalwarts, such as Osmany Juantorena, Cuba's Robertlandy Simon and Argentina's Luciano de Cecco.
The Italian League begins on October 10, with the Regular Season set to wrap up on March 20, 2022, ahead of the Playoffs.