07. 08. 2019

INTERVIEW: Baranowicz for WoV – “Career of setter starts at age of 30“

Source: Photo: lacnews24.it, legavolley.it

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Italy national team setter Michele Baranowicz has returned to play in his home country after a season abroad. Italian male players do not decide to play abroad very often, and why would they since the national championship in their country has been strong for years, but he was forced to seek the last-minute engagement last season. Why? Because the club for which Baranowicz performed in the 2017/18 season, Gas Sales Piacenza, decided to withdraw from playing SuperLega. He signed with the Turkish giants Halkbank but it, probably, cost him playing for Italy national team in 2019.


After signing with Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia this summer, Baranowicz can say with relief that unfortunate days of his career are left behind. A year ago, he had to deal with unpaid salaries from Piacenza, while this summer his transfer to Vibo Valentia nearly went down the drain due to an unfair move of his ex-manager.

Your new destination is Vibo Valentia, who made a respectable team this summer. What are your expectations for the next season and how far can Vibo Valentia go in the Italian Championship?

“After I spoke with them, I became the first player who signed with the club, the team wasn’t built yet. I’m happy, they made a great team, filled with young players who have great potential, like DeFalco or Carle. We will, hopefully, have a good season but the level of an Italian league is high, even higher than the last season. We’ll have to set up a game strategy and follow it through the entire season.“

Are looking forward to working with the head coach Juan Manuel Cichello?

“This will be my first time to work with him and, also, it will be the first time for me to work with the coach that has so many international experiences on the club level. I hope that we’ll build a nice relationship with each other. This will be a great opportunity for everybody to build something good in the new season.“

Right after you signed with Vibo Valentia, it turned out that you had some paperwork problems with one of your former teams, Lube. Can you explain what was the exact problem?

Before I signed with Vibo, I knew that my ’cartellino’ was the property of Lube. But, when I wanted to go to Vibo, the Court of Piacenza gave the power to my ex-manager to foreclose it and prevent me to go to Vibo. They gave him my ’cartellino’ as a payment of the credits that he had with Piacenza. So, the Court of Piacenza, basically, gave him the power to block me. It was unexpected news. I decided to get a lawyer to protect me and my family. Thanks to the help of Ivan Zaytsev, who gave me the chance to work with his management and the Italian Federation, who helped me a lot because they set me free, I can play in Vibo next season. Still, there are some issues that will have to be resolved in the court of law. Let me clarify what ’cartellino’ is. When you’re 14 years old, you have to be registered to play for some club and, from that moment, this club owns the sports property over you. It’s an agreement between a player and a club. This only exists in Italy. Normally, they can sell the ’cartellino’ to another club or a player can buy it up and be free to go whenever he wants without problems. Anyway, it can’t be a private property like it was in my case.

How do you feel considering that you will not play the Qualifications for the Tokyo Olympic Games? Do you feel that you deserve to be a part of the team?

“Of course, every player thinks that he deserves to be in the national team and for me, it has always been an honor to wear the national team jersey. After the happiness of playing the World Championship last year, this is upset for me. But, I respect the decision of the head coach. I think that, probably, playing outside Italy last season didn't help me. Also, I’m 30 years old now and the head coach needs to think about the future. My goal is to play the Olympic Games, to show that I deserve to be part of the team. Good thing is that now I’m enjoying my family with whom I wasn’t able to spend my free time last season.“

How do you assess your chances to be called in the national team for the European Championship in September?

“I think that it’s truly going to be difficult because in the last 5 months I mostly had physical training, which I will do this summer as well. I say again, my goal is the Olympic Games.“


Italian players do not go to play abroad very often. You had two experiences outside Italy so far, in Poland and Turkey. Would you like to play abroad again or would you like your career to be tied to Italy in the next few years?

“Of course, Italy has really great championship and best players in the world play here. It’s nice to play in Italy but playing in other countries is great, too. I like the diversity in Volleyball approach, getting to know with a new country, new culture... It’s true that Italian players don’t often decide to play abroad. When I was 21, I was one of the first Italian players to play abroad. Maybe, only players like Zorzi or Černič played before me.“

You come from a Volleyball family as your father Wojciech was a very successful player in the 70s and at the beginning of the 80s. Did you look at him as your role model and how important was he for your career?

“He’s the man who thought me everything. I decided to play volleyball because of him. He was great and I learned a lot from him. When I was young, we worked in the gym during the summer, during holidays, all day long. He’s my role model and I always wanted to be better than him, but it’s hard because he won 5 titles in Poland. He’s always ready to give me an advice, to suggest something new.“

But you are only 30 years old, you still have a chance to reach your father’s titles...

“Yes, it’s a good thing that the career of a setter starts now, at the age of 30. Players on other positions, like outside hitters or opposite hitters, they need to jump high, hit the ball hard and they get tired as years go by. Knowing that setter’s job is to understand the game, to think a lot, the more experience they get the better they play.“


Check out more interviews.


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