A familiar face will be missing from Argentina’s men’s national team during the upcoming 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League and the Tokyo Olympics after veteran libero Alexis Gonzalez announced his retirement from international volleyball.
The 39-year-old libero invoked personal reasons as he stepped away from the team he first represented in 2002. Gonzalez announced his decision at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 club season, which he played for France’s Montpellier.
“It was a personal decision,” he said. “I trust Marcelo (Mendez, the team’s head coach) a lot, so we sat down and I told him my decision. I was fortunate to be part of the national team since 2002. There were good and bad moments but playing for Argentina was the best thing that has ever happened to me and I always did it with my heart.”
During his long career with the national team, Gonzalez got to play at the London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympics, the 2010 and 2018 FIVB Volleyball World Championships, the 2019 VNL and the Tokyo Olympic Qualifier, among other important international tournaments.
“I will always carry the beautiful memories and the unique moments I experienced with the national team,” the libero added. “My first match at the Olympics was unbelievable and it’s certainly one of my favourite memories.”
Even without Gonzalez, Mendez still has some good options for the position of libero including Santiago Danani, Franco Massimino, Facundo Santucci and Ignacio Fernandez. A group of players that includes outside hitters Facundo Conte and Cristian Poglajen and opposite Bruno Lima is currently training in Buenos Aires in preparation for the international season.
More Volleyball from Argentina:
Lima and Poglajen among Argentinean call-ups
2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020