Lausanne, Switzerland, March 7, 2018 – Osmany Juantorena won the Trofeo Gazzetta 2018 in Italy. The outside spiker of Cucine Lube Civitanova was recognized as the best player of the Italian championship’s regular season for a second time in a row to add to an already successful club season for the 32-year-old Cuban-born Italian, honoured as the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 FIVB Men's Club World Championship less than three months ago.
Osmany Juantorena awarded MVP of the Club World Championship in Krakow in December
The Trofeo Gazzetta was first awarded back in 1973 following an initiative by Gazzetta dello Sport’s distinguished journalist Carlo Gobbi and has become an annual tradition. For each of the regular season games, the popular sports newspaper picks the six best players of the match assigning them points in descending order from 6 to 1. In the 26 games he played for Cucine Lube during the SuperLega regular season, Osmany Juantorena collected 101 points, which placed him on top of the overall ranking.
Having won the trophy in 2017 as well, Juantorena becomes the fifth player in the long history of the award to win in two consecutive years and is one step away from reaching the all-time record of three trophies in a row, which the great Bulgarian setter Dimitar Karov received in 1974, 1975 and 1976. The Cucine Lube volleyballer is now one of a total of seven players who have won the Trofeo Gazzetta twice. Other than Karov, only well-known Argentinean receiver Hugo Conte has received three awards.
"I am happy to have won the Trofeo Gazzetta again,” Osmany Juantorena commented. “This means that I have consistently played at a high level in a championship with so many strong players. I want to thank everyone, especially my team for helping me achieve this once again. I share the award with the entire squad and staff. It is always a pleasure to play in a league with such an abundance of champions."
Indeed there is an impressive line-up of players of the highest international level following Juantorena in the final ranking for the Trofeo Gazzetta 2018, many of whom are expected to make an impact at the upcoming inaugural season of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League and the 2018 FIVB World Championship.
Second in line, just one point behind Juantorena, is the Serbian standout Aleksandar Atanasijevic, opposite of Sir Safety Conad Perugia. A number of other national team stars, including Nimir Abdel-Aziz from the Netherlands, Bruno Rezende from Brazil, Luciano De Cecco from Argentina, Earvin Ngapeth from France and Luigi Randazzo from Italy, are among the top ten in the prestigious ranking, with many more following close behind.