Middle blocker Lucas Saatkamp is among the first players selected by the Brazilian coach

Head coach Bernardo ‘Bernardinho’ Rezende released his first selection after returning to the Brazilian men’s national team on Monday, one week before they start their preparations for the Volleyball Nations League 2024 and the Paris Olympics. The first list for the 2024 season includes 11 players who already completed their club seasons and will start working on April 22 in the team’s training facility in Saquarema.

The 64-year-old Bernardinho led Brazil to four Olympic medals between 2004 and 2016 and stepped down after winning gold at home in Rio. He returned to the team at the end of 2023, after his successor Renan Dal Zotto resigned following the Brazilian qualification for the Paris 2024 Games.

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The list released by the Brazilian Volleyball Federation contains the name of 29-year-old outside hitter Douglas Souza, who announced his international retirement in March 2022. Despite the call-up, the Rio 2016 Olympic champion revealed in a post on his Instagram account that he won't be with the team during the 2024 season.

"Just saw the news of my call-up for the Brazilian national team. I would like to inform you that my decision to end my international career was made after the Tokyo Olympics. Nothing has changed and the Brazilian Federation was informed of that. I would like to thank everyone who supported me during my time with the national team, as well as the coaches and players I got to work with. We achieved great success together, but my cycle has ended. I will continue to play with my club team, always wishing the national team all the best in the upcoming tournaments," he wrote.

Following his international retirement, Douglas continued to play at the club level, spending the 2021-2022 season in Italy with Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia and the last two years in the Brazilian Superliga with Farma Conde Vôlei São José, helping the team win bronze at both the 2022-2023 Superliga and this year’s South American Club Championship.

Middle blocker Isac Santos was brought back to the national team by Bernardinho in his first selection. The 33-year-old player was last called up for the VNL 2022 and had to deal with serious back injuries over the last two years before returning to form this past club season with Itambé Minas.

Other familiar names present in the list are Olympic champion middle blocker Lucas Saatkamp, libero Maique Nascimento and opposite Felipe Roque. Completing the first selection are setter Matheus Brasília, outside hitters Arthur Bento, Daniel Muniz and Paulo Vinicios Silva, middle blockers Judson Nascimento and Otavio Pinto and libero Alexandre Elias.

More players will be called up in the upcoming weeks and will join the squad as they complete their club seasons in leagues around the world.

Already guaranteed at the Paris 2024 Games following their successful campaign at last year’s Volleyball Olympic Qualifier, Brazil will start the VNL 2024 at home, playing Cuba, Argentina, Serbia and Italy at home, in Rio de Janeiro, from May 21-26.

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