On September 11, Italy returned to the top of the world, 24 years after their men's team last won an FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship.
World champions to return to Italian SuperLega
All 14 Italian gold medallists will play in the country’s national league
Published 07:00, 26 Sept 2022
The 14 players who led Italy to glory in Poland and Slovenia will all be back in action soon, when the 2022-23 season of the SuperLega Credem Banca begins on October 1. All matches will be streamed live on Volleyball TV.
The 14 internationals are spread across seven different clubs, and here is where you will be able to find them:
Simone Giannelli – Sir Safety Susa Perugia
The World Championship’s Most Valuable Player, the 26-year-old Simone Giannelli will lead Perugia for a second consecutive season after joining the club in 2021. In his first season with Perugia, the setter helped them make it to the podium in each of the four competitions they played in, taking gold in the Italian Cup (while also earning the Best Setter award), silver in the Italian League, and bronze in the CEV Champions League and the Italian Supercup. Giannelli will play alongside several World Championship participants, most notably Polish outside hitter Kamil Semeniuk, also a finalist in Katowice.
Riccardo Sbertoli – Itas Trentino
The 28-year-old setter was the back-up for Giannelli during the Men's World Championship. He was also brought in by head coach Ferdinando Di George to help with serving during most of Italy's matches in the competition. He is set to start his second season with Trentino after signing in 2021 to replace Giannelli, who had moved to Perugia. Sbertoli had a successful first season with Trentino as the club won the Italian Supercup, was second in the CEV Champions League and the Italian Cup, and third in both the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship and the Italian League. He will have two fellow world champions to work with during the club season in outside hitters Alessandro Michieletto and Daniele Lavia.
Yuri Romanò – Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza
One of the Italian revelations of the World Championship tournament, the 25-year-old Romanò will switch clubs this season, and move from Milano to Piacenza. The opposite led his former team to a third-place finish in the Italian Cup last season before getting attention from Piacenza, who have also recruited World Championship top scorer and Dream Team player Yoandy Leal, fellow Brazilian outside hitter Ricardo Lucarelli and Cuban middle blocker Robertlandy Simon.
Giulio Pinali – Emma Villas Aubay Siena
The 25-year-old opposite had a limited role with the Italian national team during the World Championship, appearing in just one match in their campaign. He is expected to play a much bigger role for Siena, one of the new teams in the country’s first division this season. Pinali made five podium appearances with Trentino last season, and will be a key player alongside Dutch outside hitter Maarten Van Garderen and Argentinean Olympic medallist and opposite Federico Pereyra.
Alessandro Michieletto – Itas Trentino
A key player in the Italian campaign, the 20-year-old outside hitter will remain at Trentino, the only club he has represented in his career so far. He will play alongside fellow world champions Sbertoli and Lavia. Michieletto won numerous medals for Trentino over the last three seasons, most notably gold in last year’s Italian Supercup, back-to-back silvers in the CEV Champions League and bronze at the 2021 Club World Championship, where he was included in the tournament’s Dream Team.
Daniele Lavia – Itas Trentino
Italy’s top scorer at the World Championship with the tournament’s third-best mark of 103 points, Lavia will be part of a strong core of players at Trentino, which also includes Sbertoli, Michieletto and Bulgarian veteran Matey Kaziyski. The 22-year-old outside hitter has been with the club since last season, when he arrived from Modena, and helped Trentino take a place on the podium in all five competitions they participated in.
Francesco Recine – Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza
The 23-year-old Recine didn’t get much playing time behind Michieletto and Lavia during the World Championship, but came off the bench to strengthen the Italian backcourt during the semifinal against Slovenia. The outside hitter will enter his second season with Piacenza after helping the team take bronze in the Italian Cup in 2021-2022. He will play alongside fellow world champions Romanò (opposite) and Leonardo Scanferla (libero).
Mattia Bottolo – Cucine Lube Civitanova
A new signing for the 2022-2023 season, Bottolo will be one of three world champions to play for defending champions Civitanova, alongside libero Fabio Balaso and middle blocker Simone Anzani. He arrives from Padova after helping the club make it to the quarterfinals of the Italian Cup in each of the last three seasons. At the World Championship, he was only used in the quarterfinals against France.
Gianluca Galassi – Vero Volley Monza
One of three Italian players on the tournament’s Dream Team, Galassi could be one of the most popular players in Monza’s squad, alongside Brazilian setter and fellow World Championship medallist Fernando ‘Cachopa’ Kreling. The 25-year-old middle blocker has been with the club since 2019 and helped them take gold in the CEV Cup and silver in the Italian Supercup last season.
Simone Anzani – Cucine Lube Civitanova
One of the most experienced players on the Italian national team, the 30-year-old middle blocker is set to start his third consecutive season with defending champions Civitanova, where he’ll be teammates with Bottolo and Balaso. His tenure with the club has been extremely successful. He has won two Italian League and Italian Cup titles, and gold and silver medals at the Club World Championships.
Roberto Russo - Sir Safety Susa Perugia
The 25-year-old middle blocker was a backup for most of the Italian campaign at the World Championship, but did extremely well when on court, especially in the gold medal match against Poland. After securing one Italian Cup and two Italian Supercup golds, helping his team finish second in the last two editions of the Italian League, and taking bronze in two CEV Champions Leagues, Russo is set to start his fourth season with Perugia, where he’ll play alongside Giannelli.
Leandro Mosca – Verona Volley
The 22-year-old middle blocker was an unused substitute in the Italian campaign in Poland and Slovenia, but will be one of the key names at Verona for the 2022-2023 season, alongside fellow World Championship semifinalist, Slovenian outside hitter Rok Možič, and Canadian Olympian Gordon Perrin. He is a new addition to the team, arriving from Milano, where he won the CEV Challenge Cup in 2020-2021 and bronze in last season’s Italian Cup.
Fabio Balaso – Cucine Lube Civitanova
Italy’s defensive rock at the World Championship, Balaso was selected for the tournament’s Dream Team after he ranked third in digs (48). He’s been a longtime contributor to defending champions Civitanova's team and will continue to play a big role as he enters his fifth season with the club. The 26-year-old libero was the best in his position in the last two editions of the Italian League and has collected numerous medals with his club, including three Italian League and two Italian Cup titles. He has also won Club World Championship and CEV Champions League golds.
Leonardo Scanferla - Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza
The 23-year-old libero only featured in a pool play match against Türkiye during Italy's World Championship campaign. He will have a more prominent role with Piacenza, however, where he will share the court with Romanò and Recine. Set to begin his fourth season with the club, Scanferla helped the team win bronze in the Italian Cup in 2021-2022.