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The SuperLega Credem Banca is widely recognised as the best men's domestic league in the world and features many of the leading players in international volleyball. These players have a huge impact on the outcome of the Italian League and this week we focus on 2022 world champion and star outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto, who will lead his team Itas Trentino in difficult matches against Cucine Lube Civitanova and Top Volley Cisterna.

In just two years, Alessandro Michieletto has gone from being a promising athlete, who was part of the youth Italian national team and competed in the country’s lower divisions at the club level, to one of the biggest stars in international volleyball.

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His playing development followed another type of growth, that changed the course of his still young career.

The son of Riccardo Michieletto, a player with an extensive career in the Italian League, Alessandro was originally a libero. At the age of 16, he stood at about 1.90m, but after the first signs of the quick growth spurt that would see him add on 20 cms in just six years, he was moved to outside hitter, the position he currently plays at and at which he is one of the best players in the world.

“I started to play volleyball because I love this sport,” he said in an interview with CEV. “My father played volleyball too, so I think that this is my sport and I’m grateful for this. I played as a libero at the beginning. Then, when I was older, I started to play as an outside hitter.”

The positional change did wonders for Michieletto’s career. Very few players who stand at 2.11m and are key point-scorers for their teams have the defensive skills he developed during his time as a libero, which have made him a unique type of player at the highest level of the sport.

“I had never seen someone play volleyball like Alessandro Michieletto,” said Italian legend Andrea Zorzi, a two-time world champion, in an interview with Italian website La Repubblica. “He is the prototype of the new player for many reasons. He’s very young, but is very consistent with his performance. And he learns so fast – after one year, he’s a completely different player. He’s a hitter with a fantastic balance between offence and defence.”

Michieletto had a successful youth career, helped Italy take gold at the 2019 U19 FIVB World Championship and win medals at the U18 and U20 European Championships, and it was not a complete surprise when, at the age of 19, he was included in the country’s squad for the 2021 Volleyball Nations League.

His great performances, which were perhaps unexpected at this level, earned him a spot in the Italian squad that would go on to finish sixth at the Tokyo Olympics. Just a few weeks later, Michieletto was a key piece in the team’s first victory at the European Championship in 16 years. The following week, he helped his country take gold at the U21 World Championship while also earning the MVP award.

The 2022 season started with Michieletto as one of the key players in a rejuvenated Italian team and he didn’t disappoint. The Europeans made their first VNL semifinal appearance, finishing fourth, and came back even stronger for the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, taking their first gold since 1998. The 22-year-old outside hitter, who registered 82 points in the Italian campaign, became just the fifth player to win world titles in all three age levels (U19, U21 and senior).

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Michieletto poses with his teammates after their victory at the World Championship

At the club level, he has worn a single jersey in his still young career – Itas Trentino’s. Starting with the youth teams of the club, where his father played near the end of his career, he has also enjoyed a meteoric rise within the club.

Michieletto spent most of the 2019-2020 season in the country’s third division, with UniTrento, a team affiliated with Itas Trentino. He was included in Trentino’s roster during the season to cover for some injuries and left a good impression in the 15 sets he got to play, securing a full-time spot in the squad for the following season.

In two seasons with Trentino, Michieletto has won as many as nine medals, with the most important of them being gold in the 2021-2022 Italian Supercup, bronze at the 2021 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship (when he made it to the tournament Dream Team) and back-to-back silvers at the CEV Champions League.

Michieletto has been in top form since the start of 2022-2023 SuperLega Credem Banca, having registered 50 points (37 kills, six blocks, seven aces) in his first three matches, and Trentino will need big contributions from their star outside hitter this week, as they have two challenging matches ahead of them.

Alessandro Michieletto - Itas Trentino

Trentino will appear in the single scheduled midweek match on Thursday, at 20.30 local time (18.30 GMT), against defending champions Cucine Lube Civitanova, and will return to the court just three days later, on Sunday, at 18.00 local time (16.00 GMT), against Top Volley Cisterna, who won all their first three matches and rank second in the standings.