Knocked out of the 2020-2021 Brazilian Superliga at the quarterfinal round stage, Sada Cruzeiro Volei have started building their roster for the next club season and secured the return of star opposite Wallace de Souza.
A Rio 2016 Olympic champion, the 33-year-old Wallace is one of the winningest players in the club's history, having won as many as 21 trophies in the seven years he spent with the team between 2009 and 2016.
Among those victories were a pair of gold medals at the 2013 and 2015 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championships, four titles in the Brazilian Superliga and three in the South American Club Championship.
“I’m very happy to be back,” he said. “After five years, to be a part of Sada Cruzeiro again will be so special. I can’t wait to be back with the club and meet people who were very important in my career. I hope I can make the fans as happy as I did the first time I played with the club.”
Wallace is currently playing in Turkey, where he recently led Spor Toto Kulubu to victory in the 2020-2021 Turkish Cup. The team are competing for fifth place in the Turkish League.
A London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Wallace also played for EMS Taubate Funvic and SESC-RJ in his native Brazil after he left Sada Cruzeiro.
His arrival at Sada Cruzeiro Volei helps to offset two important departures announced after their elimination in the Superliga. Argentinean national team head coach Marcelo Mendez, who had headed the team for the last 12 years and lifted 38 trophies, announced the end of his cycle with the club recently.
“When I first joined the project, in 2009, I never imagined it would take me so long to say goodbye,” he wrote in a letter to the fans. “I leave as a better person and a better coach and someone who will never forget the moments experienced here – the good ones, which fortunately were the most frequent, but also the bad ones.”
Besides Mendez, Sada Cruzeiro will also miss Argentinean national team star outside hitter Facundo Conte, who was part of the roster in the last two seasons. The 30-year-old Conte recently announced his departure on his Instagram account.
“Playing here was one of the best moments of my career and my life,” he wrote. “Part of my heart will remain here forever and I can’t thank everyone who was a part of this amazing and unforgettable experience enough. This is not a goodbye, Brazil, it’s a see you soon.”
Before they join their new clubs, Wallace, Mendez and Conte will appear in the 2021 edition of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, which will be played in Rimini, Italy, and is set to start at the end of May.
Wallace sets the stage for transition after accomplishing his mission