Due to the increasing popularity of volleyball, it’s imperative to honor those who have made their history in volleyball. So, to honor volleyball and its history, we have curated a list of the top five professional male volleyball players.
5 best and famous male volleyball players of all time:
1. Karch Kiraly
Karch Kiraly is by far, one of the best male professional volleyball players of the 20th century without a single doubt. Having been a leader of the U.S. National Team during the 1984 Summer Olympics, the team had won a gold medal. His strengths lie in defense and outside hitting. During the 1988 Summer Olympics, the U.S. team had won its second Olympic gold medal. Winning a third Olympic gold medal in 1996 in Atlanta, Karch Kiraly can be considered as the best among the top Olympic male professional players.
With 148 career wins, Kiraly had a long career on the professional beach circuit. He has also been chosen as the FIVB Best Player of the 20th century by FIVB (The Federation Internationale de Volleyball). What’s more interesting is, Kiraly is also a coach of the US National Women’s Volleyball team. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Kiraly was the leader of the US women’s team who had received the bronze medal in the championship.
One can not talk about Giba if one’s talking about volleyball. It’s like he is one inseparable branch of the tree. Calling him wonderful or brilliant, would be an understatement. His contribution to volleyball cannot be expressed in words. Just watching him play would suffice how great a player he is.
Having him in the team, Brazil has topped a majority of lists. For instance, in 2004 during the Olympic Games, he helped the Canarinhos to win. Not only that, but his contribution to the World Championship made the team win three times in a row from 2002 to 2010. The list of his impeccable contributions can go on and on.
He is also the possessor of the MVP of the Olympic Games in 2004 and the MVP of the World Championship in 2006. Due to the presence of Giba, Brazil had the best national team in the 21st century. In addition, he was also lucky to play with the best generation of players in his team.
For those who still don’t know the legend, Giba’s full name is Gilberto Amauri de Godoy Filho who was called the Best Men’s Volleyball Player of all time in 2015. Unfortunately, he resigned in 2019 at the age of 42 from the team IBB Polonia London.
3. Ivan Milijkovic
Ivan Milijkovic is the best Serbian volleyball player, no cap. In 2000 during the Olympic Games, Milijkovic led the team to a gold medal, even when he was barely 20 years back then. His presence in the team led to another success just one year later in Serbia and Montenegro, winning the European Championship.
Although Milijkovic was one of the best players of his time, he did not achieve many rewards. He has only bagged eleven gold medals with the national teams and clubs. However, he does own 30 individual awards and set a record of earning 37 points in one match in the 2002 and 2005 FIVB World League.
Although he had retired, he was considered to be the best in every tournament of which he was a part.
4. Sérgio Dutra Santos
Sergio or Sérgio Dutra Santos is considered to be the best liberos of all time in volleyball. Believe it or not, Sergio is, hands down, one of the hottest male professional players in volleyball belonging to the gold generation winning dozens of competitions at the beginning of the 21st century.
His strengths lay in athletic abilities and predictions which made him one of the leading players back then. His life in volleyball was spent largely in Brazilian clubs, however, his achievements with the National Team. He achieved 24 gold, 7 silver, and 2 bronze in his 15 years of volleyball career, which is quite an impressive record.
In addition, in the World League, Brazil won seven gold medals and they also had the majority in the South American Championship. As the best libero, the best digger, or the MVP, he won a total of 39 awards. He is by far the best professional male volleyball player. He has resigned from the National Team, but he’s still a part of various Brazilian clubs.
5. Lorenzo Bernardi
You might not know this but Lorenzo Bernardi’s career in volleyball began as a volleyball coach. He was a great coach, but presently, he is largely known as one of the phenomenal players in volleyball.
As an Italian outside hitter, Bernardi has earned the reputation of a legend and has also been a part of several clubs like Sisley Treviso for 12 years. Bernardi had earned 16 titles individually and as with all his clubs, he bagged 26 titles. He is largely associated with the Italian National team. In 1990 and 1994, he won the World Championship and in 1995 the World Cup. Not only that, but he also won the World League five times and the European Champions League twice.
What’s interesting is that he was elected the best player of the 1994 World Championship and 1995 European Championship. In 2001, he was also declared the ‘Volleyball Player of the Century’ by the FIVB, along with Karch Kiraly.
Once he resigned as a player from all the teams, he continued his relationship with volleyball as a coach and bagged more awards.
These are some of the most successful professional male volleyball players whose names are inseparable when it comes to volleyball. There is a litany of other volleyball players who are on their journey to make their history in volleyball. You can check them out too here.