It all started in 1989 at Parma’s PalaRaschi, when the local club of Maxicono defeated the Soviet Union’s CSKA Moscow 3-1 (12-15, 16-14, 16-14, 15-12) in the final to claim the first official world club trophy.
Brazil’s Pirelli Santo Andre had previously won ‘experimental’ world club tournaments in 1983 and 1984 and did eventually win an official medal when they beat Banespa Sao Paulo 3-2 (6-15, 13-15, 15-7, 15-5, 16-14) in an all-Brazil bronze medal match in 1989.
The Italian gold run, however, went uninterrupted from 1989 to 2013, when Sada Cruzeiro of Contagem, a suburb of Belo Horizonte, defeated Russia’s Lokomotiv Novosibirsk 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-20) in the final.
Trentino dropped even lower to 5th place in 2014 – the first time in the history of the event that neither an Italian nor a Brazilian team made it on to the podium.
In a new age for volleyball, it was Belogorie Belgorod who travelled last year from the heart of Siberia to the tropics of Minas Gerais, where they defeated Qatar’s Al-Rayyan 3-1 (16-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-15) in the final at the iconic Mineirinho.
Aside from Trentino, only Volley Gonzaga have multiple golds. They won the trophy in 1990 (as Mediolanum) at home in Milan 3-0 (15-8, 15-10, 15-7) over Banespa Sao Paolo and again in 1992 (as Misura) in Treviso 3-2 (15-7, 12-15, 9-15, 15-7, 15-7) over the home team of Sisley.
This year there are no representatives from Italy to try and claim back the title.
Or will Sada Cruzeiro take advantage of home crowd support to bring the trophy back to Brazil and become only the third club with multiple gold medals?
Or can any of the other contenders rise up to upset the favourites?
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