A handful of Cuban volleyball players has reached the elite abroad. They have mingled in foreign professional clubs to break the slow cadence of Cuban amateur sport. It is a pure miscellaneous suggesting unwavering imprint, not to be hidden within the dungeons of oblivion that suddenly gushing over the setbacks trying to feed the peaceful hopes.
Being Cuban is already a trademarked, players highly prized by the main clubs, they profess being made of a luxury substance, a premonition of triumph and foreboding of outstanding shows. The unbridled fury of lurches in the air, tucked behind the frame of pure raw physical marvel and their natural Caribbean playfulness have captivated the world with their innate talent.
In particular, they have made of Italy their turf. Since the flood of Cuban players that landed in 2001 on Italian soil, this nation has become a favorite destination of many of the Cuban volleyball players who have decided to continue their careers as professionals.
Right now, the iconic face of the Italian League is a Cuban: Osmany Juantorena. He is the star player of Trentino, the four times in a row FIVB Men’s Club World Champions. Since his arrival in Italy, the club put its eyes on him eye and didn’t let him escape. After leaving many with their mouths opened with his potential on the court, from his debut Osmani had the luxury that in just a couple of years lead his club to the top of the world. The Trentino, with Juantorena perched on the bow, won their domestic league and European Champions on two consecutive occasions. But it does not stop there; he became the undisputed leader of the team that has won all world club titles since 2009.
Taking off from behind with his spikes, the Cuban has become for many of the best volleyball player in the world today. His consistency in every game sometimes results in a display of figures of dizziness, enough for him to lead major offensive statistical lines.
The boy from Santiago de Cuba mocks blocks whether with strength or with at concealed gestures that make the ball fall in the gaps. He rises from the line end to blast the ball and serves at the speed of light in search of corners, blocks and unabashedly defends. Osmany Juantorena has come to shore up an already established generation of Cuban players who have gone through the Italian courts.
Older than Osmany is the lefty from Parraga, Angel Dennis. With an aura different from that of the Santiago kid, Dennis was lucky to be a member of the IVECO Palermo from 1998 to 2000 and of the national team. He was in the squad that won the only World Volleyball League for Cuba, but in 2001 he decided to leave the Cuban team and move to Italy.
After a period of inactivity he tried his luck in Qatar before returning to Italy to play with the Volley Latina. His formidable performance made him stay shortly in this club and started playing with Lube Banca Marche Macerata. Dennis excelled in this squad, got tired of winning titles and became the best player in the league.
When everybody was speaking of the portentous mulatto, the Cuban married Italian volleyball player Simona Rinieri. Despite the impact of marriage, he continued appearing in sports headlines for his own merits in courts. His unique style of serving has become iconic for the lefty from Havana.
From right to left, he runs the ball between his elongated hands while swinging his feet to the beat of a good son, before putting the ball into orbit and make it travel with a cat jump, accompanied by a powerful blow from left that triggers at a staggering pacethe ball looking for a gap in the enemy taraflex.
The image of the 7 consecutive aces scored in a match after the usual ritual was downloaded hundreds of times from YouTube. The sequence toured the world and with it the Cuban flag tattoo Dennis displays on his shoulder every time rolls up his jersey. In 2007 he was transferred to Modena where he remains until today. Angel Dennis is already a veteran, while still has the rigor of a youth.
Weeks ago Trentino vs Modena played in the Italian League. It boasted a duel between two of the best players in the world, two Cubans, one left-handed, another right-handed, from Santiago and Havana, experience and youth. But, a botch of fate, a blunder or just some random chance, did not want the meeting to take place. According to the website of the contest, a muscle injury prevented Juantorena from facing his comrade.