Simone Anzani: Grit and passion personified

CEV-FIVB : Infos ven 29 septembre 2023

The remarkable story of Italy’s steep rise in men’s volleyball cannot be written without mentioning Simone Anzani; one of the most experienced players in Ferdinando De Giorgi’s youthful team. The 31-year-old middle blocker has seen it all on the court, having won gold at the FIVB World Championship, FIVB Club World Championship and CEV European Championship. He is now set to fly the Italian flag again but in a slightly different arena, following his appointment as a member of the FIVB Athletes’ Commission.

Simone Anzani became the World Champion in 2023

Anzani’s childhood dream was to wear the Italian blue jersey, but little did he know that would be in the sport of volleyball. From age 5 to 15, he tried his hand in swimming, karate and then football for a long time. It was his high school years that saw him take up volleyball, as he began to participate in tournaments with his school team. From then on, he never looked back. In 2007, he started playing for a small team in the Como area, Yaka Volley. Shortly afterwards, he was called up by the Lombardy regional selection in July 2008 to participate in the Trofeo delle Regioni, a large youth event. After the tournament he received a call from Sisley Treviso, a historic team in the Italian championship, to be part of their youth team. In September 2008, he moved from Como to Treviso and the rest, as they say, is history!

After three years in Treviso and upon completing high school in 2011, he joined Volleyball Loreto in Italy’s Serie A2. The following year, he moved to another A2 club Sora, where he played for a season before getting his Serie A1 breakthrough with Verona in 2013. After four years in the city of Verona, he moved to Perugia where he managed to win the treble (Italian Super Cup, Italian Cup and league title) in the 2017/18 season and was also named best middle blocker in Serie A1.

From Perugia, he joined Modena in 2018 where he played for only one season, winning the Italian Super Cup before making a big move to Lube Civitanova where he remains to date. At Lube, Anzani has won two Serie A1 titles, two Italian Cups and one FIVB Club World Championship trophy.

The Italian national team won the gold medal match of the FIVB Volleyball World Championship 2022 against Poland

The 203cm middle blocker got his first call up to the national team in 2012, winning the gold medal at the XVII Mediterranean Games a year later. He later won the bronze medal at the 2014 FIVB World League and the 2015 CEV European championship and the silver medal at the 2015 FIVB World Cup. In 2021, he won the gold medal at the CEV European championship, around the same time that his daughter Viola was born. That victory ended a 16-year drought for the continental title. Anzani and his teammates then won the FIVB World Championship 2022 ending a 24-year wait for the global trophy.

“The national team is something that is difficult to explain. The emotions you feel wearing the blue shirt, singing the Mameli anthem are unique sensations. Wearing the national team shirt is not like playing in a club. There is the responsibility to represent a people, an entire nation,” said Anzani.

He unfortunately missed this year’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League due to ill health, however he plans to return in time to guide the young Italian team through the Olympic Games Paris 2024 qualification tournament. Italy is in Pool A alongside hosts Brazil, Ukraine, Qatar, Germany, Czechia, Iran and Cuba.

With the Italian national team leaving without medals at Tokyo 2020, their eyes are now on Paris 2024

Anzani was part of the Italian squad that was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the delayed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and is now pushing for the podium in Paris.

“With the national team, after realising my dream of participating in an Olympics, I'd like to win a medal. It would really be the pinnacle of a whole career, a personal achievement.”

Anzani’s appointment is a hugely exciting one; with him providing valued additional experience, expertise and dynamism to the FIVB Athletes’ Commission.

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