Having settled for silver at their previous two attempts to conquer the world, in 2017 and in 2018, Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova finally topped the podium of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship, claiming gold at the 2019 edition in Brazil. Defying the passion of a 6,000-strong home crowd on the stands in Betim, Lube mastered a 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 31-29, 25-21) win over hosts and three-time champs Sada Cruzeiro Volei in the final to triumph with the trophy for the first time in their history.
2019 Review: Lube conquer world on third attempt
Published 08:00, 31 Dec 2019
It was the 10th time an Italian team won the Men’s Club World Championship in the 15 editions of the event. On three occasions, the title went to a Brazilian team; the other two times – to clubs from Russia.
Four teams took part in the 2019 Club World Championship, held from December 3 through 8. The tournament started with a single round-robin, in which the standings, used to determine the semifinal match-ups, emulated the final ranking after the last day in Betim, even though the eventual champs did allow one defeat, but only after having secured pole position ahead of the semis.
Lube delivered straight-set wins over Qatar’s Al-Rayyan and Brazil’s Sada Cruzeiro in the first two days of the championship. They went on to win the first two sets of their game with Zenit Kazan, after which the Russian team mounted a complete turnaround to a 3-2 win.
The Italian squad went on to master another emphatic shutout of Al-Rayyan in one of the semifinals. So did Sada Cruzeiro with Zenit in the other and Zenit with Al-Rayyan in the bronze medal match.
Three players shared the top scorer honours in the big final, in which Cucine Lube Civitanova added the Club World Championship title to trophies from the Italian domestic league and the European Champions League for a fabulous golden treble in 2019. Yoandy Leal and Osmany Juantorena contributed 20 points apiece to Lube’s victory, while Facundo Conte scored as many for his Brazilian team. Yoandy Leal also topped the tournament’s best scorers ranking with a total of 65 points to his name.
Juantorena and Conte made the Dream Team of the Club World Championship, nominated as the best outside hitters. Lube’s Bruno Rezende was named Most Valuable Player and Dream Team setter. The ideal seven also included opposite Evandro Guerra of Sada Cruzeiro, middle blockers Artem Volvich of Zenit Kazan and Robertlandy Simon of Lube and libero Fabio Balaso of Lube.
“To win a tournament in Brazil is a great satisfaction,” said playmaker Bruno Rezende, who also sets for the Brazilian national team. “I could feel the love people have for me even though I never played for Sada Cruzeiro. We deserved this title.”
"It’s unbelievable! This has been a perfect season for us and this is a title the team didn’t have, so this is a big victory for us,” Lube’s coach Ferdinando De Giorgi stated after the final. “All of our players helped get this win and that makes it even more special.”