Robertlandy Simon (Cucine Lube Civitanova)

Cucine Lube Civitanova middle blocker Robertlandy Simon of Cuba serves

Many of the top players in volleyball have accomplished a significant level of success with their national teams. That, however, is not the case for Cucine Lube Civitanova's Robertlandy Simon.

The outstanding middle blocker's contribution to the Cuban national team between 2011 and 2020 was limited to just three continental tournaments, the 2019 NORCECA Championships and Champions Cup and the 2020 NORCECA Olympic Qualifier. But it’s impossible to deny the impact his powerful game has had on the sport as a whole.


Simon captained a strong Cuban team that also featured the likes of Wilfredo Leon and Yoandy Leal back in 2010

Prioir to those competitions, the 2.06m-tall athlete captained the Cuban national team to silver medals at both the 2009 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup and the 2010 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship. But soon after he stepped down from his role with the national team to focus on his club career.

And his journey has been a successful one. He is one of just a small number of players who have won national and continental titles on three different continents. Simon has also appeared at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship for teams from three different regions, and won the tournament twice.

“Simon might be a little intimidating from the outside because of his size and his physique, but he’s a very friendly guy and has one of the biggest hearts,” said Brazilian setter Bruno Rezende, who spent two seasons with the Cuban at Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova. “He’s a great teammate and is always looking to help everyone around him. As a player, what sets him apart is his explosiveness and his speed. He’s got great quality and impressive variation on offence. I’d put him in the top three among the middle blockers I’ve seen play the game.”

Italy, where Simon still plays, was actually his first stop outside Cuba. He spent a pair of seasons with Volley Piacenza and won the 2012-2013 CEV Challenge Cup and the 2013-2014 Italian Cup. From there, he headed to Asia, and played club seasons in Korea and Qatar for the next two years.

The Asian stage of Simon’s career was certainly prolific as the Cuban won back-to-back Korean titles in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 with OKman, while playing as an opposite. He also won the 2014-2015 Qatari League and Gulf Clubs Champions Cup with Al-Rayyan, the same club he led to a silver medal at the 2015 Men’s Club World Championship. He joined El Jaish the following season and helped the team claim the Qatari Cup title and win Emir Cup silver.

After enjoying some success in Europe and Asia, it was time for Simon to challenge himself in another region of the globe and he decided it would be South America. The middle blocker joined Brazilian powerhouse Sada Cruzeiro Volei and was part of one of the winningest teams in the country.


Simon won the main tournaments in Brazil and South America during his time with Sada Cruzeiro

Nicknamed ‘Simonster’ by the team’s fan base, the Cuban lifted as many as ten trophies during his two-year stint with Sada Cruzeiro, including the 2016 Men’s Club World Championship and back-to-back victories in the Brazilian Superliga, the Brazilian Supercup and the South American Club Championship.

Back in Italy since 2018, Simon joined one of the strongest club teams on the planet in Lube and has continued to be a winner with triumphs in the 2019 Men’s Club World Championship, the 2018-2019 CEV Champions League, the 2018-2019 Italian League and the 2019-2020 Italian Cup. The Italian club won the SuperLega again in 2020/21 and are currently top of this season's standings, even if they have played more matches than some of their opponents.

At the end of 2019, Simon went through an important and emotional moment in his career. After a ten-year break, he returned to the Cuban national team. His presence wasn’t enough for the Caribbeans to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, but he really appreciated being able to represent his country again.


The middle blocker returned to the Cuban national team after nearly a decade in 2019

“Returning to the national team was fantastic, even if unfortunately we didn’t secure the Olympic qualification, which was the main goal,” he said in an interview with Argentinean website Somos Voley.

“I was a little unsure about how the players would react to my return since I had never played with any of them and had been away for a while. But it was great, they are all amazing kids and welcomed me back in the best possible way. I can’t tell right now if I’ll be with the team when Paris 2024 comes, but I want to help them to prepare for it as much as I can.”

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