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2019 Men’s VNL – Young players on our radar


Fernando Kreling and teammates celebrate a point for Brazil

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 1, 2019 – The 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League showcased the crowning of inaugural winners Russia but also the emergence of new talent. This year the VNL returns for a second season, and newcomers and first-timers will do their best to share the spotlight with the competition's more well-established stars.

Here is a selection of young players who could bring further excitement to the 2019 edition of the men’s VNL:

Fernando Kreling
 (Fernando Chachopa) of Brazil is one of the team's youngest setters. He was a standout setter in age-group competitions. He plays for Sada Cruzeiro in the Brazilian Superliga and is an up-and-coming setter that could continue the legacy of Brazil’s long line of great setters.

Eighteen-year-old Peng Shikun is one of the youngest members of the Chinese men’s volleyball team. The young Chinese middle blocker has topped the scoring charts as a youth player and is a budding player who could help out in defence for the senior team.

Benjamin Diez 
follows in the footsteps of the great French libero Jennia Grebennikov. He is a young libero who has already compiled two high-level seasons with his club and a great hope for French volleyball. The 20-year-old Diez has great technical skills and physical qualities. He has a great combination of agility and speed in his moves, making him a spectacular libero.

Ivan Batanov
 and Louis Kuntsmann come from the youth national team programme of Germany. The two players have trained under the guidance of Andrea Giani. As volleyball continues to become more popular in the country, their promising performances at a club level will be significant in their stints with the senior national team.

Iran's Mehran Feyzemamdoust is the youngest player among the 460 registered players in the men’s VNL this year. He was a member of the Iranian team that won the title of the U19 World Championship with an undefeated run.

Davide Gardini
 is the son of former volleyball star Andrea Gardini, who led Italy to three FIVB World Championships and was a three-time Olympian. He has the genes of a true volleyball star and comes from a country with a rich volleyball tradition. He grew up playing soccer but got too tall for the sport and shifted to the sport his parents played. He was a silver medallist and a best outside spiker awardee at the 2017 U19 European Championships.

Diego Cantagalli
, like Davide Gardini, is a son of another world champion. Diego’s father Luca is a two-time World Championship winner in the 90s. The young Cantagalli is likewise talented and has represented Italy in age-group tournaments.

Yuji Nishida made his debut in the men’s national team of Japan in the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. He played a key role in Japan’s first victory in 11 years against Italy, collecting 21 spikes and three aces. He became the youngest player to score 30 points in a match last year against Argentina.

Jedrzej Gruszczynski
was a member of the U19 national team of Poland that dominated several European and World Championship age-group tournaments. The youthful Gruszczynski is a great addition to the senior team, which claimed World Championship titles in 2014 and 2018.