The Croatian Volleyball Federation has not extended contracts with the current head coaches of the women’s and men’s national teams, Daniele Santarelli (40) and Emanuele Zanini (56).
After last summer’s performance of both our selected species at the European Championships, their contracts expired, but a certain period of time was left for further negotiations on the possibility of continuing cooperation.
However, after several months of talks, it was decided that the Croatian Volleyball Federation will not continue to work with two Italian experts who left a big mark in the period when they were on the bench of the Croatian women’s and men’s national teams. collaboration and wish you every success in your future career.
Daniele Santarelli took over the bench of the Croatian women’s volleyball team in the fall of 2018, after the gold of our chosen species at the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona. At that time, the team was led by Igor Lovrinov, who unexpectedly resigned irrevocably after the introductory matches, so the national team was led to gold by the director of the national team Frane Žanić, also a former national team member and coach.
Santarelli’s career was moving at meteoric speed; after starting as an assistant at Casalmaggiore from 2010 to 2014 he joined one of the best Italian teams Conegliano in 2015 as an assistant to Davide Mazzanti. Two years later, when Mazzanti became the Italian coach, he took the helm of Conegliano, with whom he won the Italian Championship, Cup and Super Cup several times, but was also a European and world club champion.
He successfully debuted with Croatia in the qualifications for EuroVolley 2019, which was held for the first time in a new format, in four countries and with 24 national teams. After the successful passage of the group in Budapest, in the eighth-finals in Ankara, Croatia was defeated in a dramatic match by the hosts Turkey with 2: 3, after ours, led 2-1 in sets, and after the fifth set ended in a difference, 16: 14 for Turkey. Croatia ended up in 11th place.
At the last European Championship, which we were one of the hosts, in Zadar last summer, after passing the group of the Croatian national team, she unexpectedly lost in the round of 16 to France 2: 3, after also leading 2-1 in sets, taking the final 10th place. It was also Santarelli’s last game.
Santarelli led the Croatian national team in the European League as well, winning silver twice in the Gold League. In 2019 final, Croatia was defeated by the Czech Republic 1: 3 in Varaždin, and in 2021 in the Bulgarian Russians by the hosts also 1: 3. With the Croatian national team, Santarelli won 4th place in the Challenger Cup in Peru in 2019, and in 2020 at the Olympic qualifiers held in the Netherlands, he failed to place in Tokyo, taking the penultimate 7th place.
Emanuele Zanini has been the head coach of the Croatian men’s national team since the spring of 2019 when he replaced Ivan Rančić on the bench. In his rich career, he led many Italian and foreign clubs, of which can stand out great teams such as Modena, Verona and Monza, but also the national teams of Slovakia and Turkey.
With the Croatian national team, he managed to qualify for the European Championships in 2021, after the last time Igor Šimunčić succeeded in 2015 in Turin, when we were in the penultimate 15th place. After passing the group, Zanini lost 1: 3 in the round of 16 to the later silver national team of Slovenia, finishing 14th (out of 24 national teams).
In the European League, the Silver League, he won the Final Four with the Croatian national team in 2021, winning 4th place at the end, and in 2019 in the Golden League, Croatia took 8th place out of 20 teams.
After the expiration of the contract with the previous selectors, the Croatian Volleyball Federation sought new solutions for the bench of the women’s and men’s national teams and will announce new selection names in the coming days.