Success is relative, but in some situations it is clear when a player has excelled. Such is the case for Italian rising star Alessandro Michieletto, who in the summer of 2021 was a true revelation for Italian volleyball. Making an impact at the Tokyo Olympics, Michieletto was one of the leaders of the Italian squad at the men's edition of EuroVolley, where he and his teammates were crowned kings of Europe.
Michieletto ready for new challenges
The "crazy" volleyball summer of the Italian rising star
Published 02:20, 01 Oct 2021
This “crazy” volleyball summer
With the FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship 2021 reaching its climax, the “crazy” Italian summer is coming to an end for Italy's outside hitter. He hopes, however, that it is just the beginning of a journey as he remains down-to-earth, even when crowds go wild in his presence.
“When I saw how people in the hall in Cagliari reacted when they heard my name last Saturday when I joined the team, I felt really emotional. It happened for a very first time to me, so there was this great feeling. However, it was for a quick moment. Then I tried to shut myself off from the noise and think about the game, about my teammates. I wanted to give my best, because the fans in Cagliari are not supporting only me, but the whole team as well.”
The important promises
After following his successes this summer, supporters were wondering if the rising star would join his teammates for the U21 Worlds. Alessandro made it clear that it was of utmost importance to him to be with his teammates in Cagliari, keeping an important promise that he had made to them, calling them not only teammates, but “brothers”.
“I had made a promise to my fantastic teammates here, at the U21 Worlds, that I would join them after EuroVolley. This is why I am back. We have shared so many years together, and I had to be here. I knew that we had to fight together, looking for the best possible way to close this stage of our careers. I have learned a lot during this summer, with the senior team, and what I try to do now is to also share this experience with my teammates here, so that we can all become better.”
All eyes on Michieletto
In this intense summer period with the national team, Michieletto had to adapt to a new reality, to interest from media and fans, and remain as focused as possible.
“It is a new thing for me, I am just getting used to it. But I am the boy that I was before this whole interest - with both my feet on the ground. My focus is on how to play better, and on how to help the team. Whatever happens outside the court - I don’t give that much attention to it. Of course, it is a nice thing that can happen to a person, and it means that I have achieved something important as well. However, as athletes, we are aware that such interest can exist, and we know that we must think about the game, not the other things.”
The past and the future - Osmany’s gesture
A photo of Michieletto and volleyball legend Osmany Juantorena right after the older player announced his retirement went viral during the Olympics. The image of both the future and the past of Italian volleyball melted the hearts of volleyball fans around the world.
“I got to know Osmany better this summer. He helped me a lot, he taught me a lot about his play, about the way he sees volleyball. It is knowledge that is very useful to me, and I try to apply it when I train. The photo that we took? It was his spontaneous idea. He knew that I wear a jersey with the number 5. With this gesture, he showed once again the exceptional human being that he is.”
From inspiration to action
Many are the young kids in Trento, who go to the sports hall to watch their idols, playing for Trentino. And this was also the case for Alessandro Michieletto who used to get his inspiration from stars like Juanotorena and Matey Kaziysky. Years later, he has had a chance to learn directly from them.
“When I used to go to the sports hall, I would always watch Trentino’s stars, a great group of champions. Osmany was my favourite, so when now years later he did this, it melted my heart. This season I will play with Matey Kaziysky, and I am so excited about this. He is another great champion, and I could learn a lot from him. He has won everything that a player can win, so I am looking forward to start training and playing together. I got the chance to meet him, just for a bit, but it was clear to me from the very first second that despite his great career and his achievements, he has remained so humble. He is always ready to help us, the youngsters. I believe his presence at Trentino this year is important not just for me, but to all the players. We are a young team, and he will be of great help as our hero.”
The normal boy outside the court
When the lights go down, and fans are already leaving the hall and on their way home, Michieletto returns to being a normal 19-year-old.
“I like spending time with my family, with my girlfriend, with my friends. I like to have some fun, but all within the normal limits. Who am I outside the court? Just a normal boy, who likes watching sports and tv series,” Michieletto said. “I like to have some rest as well. Maybe because I haven’t had much this summer.”
New dreams in the making
After achieving so much at a young age, it could be difficult to come up with new goals. Michieletto, however, is sure that this will not be a problem, and already has new dreams.
“When I was a kid, I would always say that my biggest dream was to go play at the Olympics. Now that this dream has come true, I have new ones, of course. But I prefer not to say what they are, just to keep them there, in a drawer, and let's see if I achieve them.”