Who are the top 10 best volleyball players of all time? (Answered)

Volleyball can be a competitive sport and everyone wants to improve. We can take a look at the best volleyball players ever to learn how they did it. This can help us to improve our skills. It is easy to be subjective and just pick your favorite player but in volleyball, we have statistics to compare players. The data is still skewed as volleyball is a team sport. If the outside hitter doesn’t get a good serve, it is harder to score. Still, the statistics can be a good basis to decide which players were the best as they can move teams if they are performing well. We have discussed the different roles of volleyball players before. Let’s see who the best player is for each of these positions. 

1/ Wilfredo Leon Venero: best volleyball hitter in the world

This Polish –  Cuban player currently plays in Italy. He is mainly known for helping the Cuban national volleyball team win a silver medal during the 2010 Olympics. He started playing when he was seven and already was the captain of the national team when he was only 17 years old. Given all his years of experience, he is able to attack very efficiently. Since he left Cuba, he is not allowed to play for their national team anymore and is only eligible to do so for Poland. He has won a lot of Russian cups and championships. The competition in Russia is very high so this indicates that he was able to join great teams. 

What is remarkable about his game is that he can jump very high. These vertical movements allow him to attack from different angles and surprise the defense of the other team. In some instances, his team members fake an attack and this allows Leon to score a lot of spectacular points as the defense is distracted. He is great at evading blocks of the other team and can add a lot of power and effect to the ball. Let’s see some examples of his attacks below:

2/ Osmany Juantorena :best volleyball spiker in the world

Another great attacker is Osmany Juantorena. He is Cuban-Italian and a multiple-time champion in Italy. He also won personal awards such as most Valuable Player. He started playing when he was 12 years old and has moved around quite a big. After playing in Cuba and Russia, he moved to Turkey and became a champion there as well. He was also part of the Cuban volleyball team that won a silver medal in the Olympics. He uses very powerful slams and this allows him to score a lot of points as the liberos don’t have time to dig to keep the ball in the air. Often the ball touches the net when he spikes and this can add some more effect to it, confusing the defenders. It can be very hard to defend against a team that has a great spiker. This can explain why he has had so many championships over the years. 

3/ Ivan Zaytsev:  best volleyball server

A server can score a lot of points for a team. Scoring a lot of aces in a row is a fast way to win a match. Ivan is an Italian player that started out as a setter but became an opposite player later on in his career. He can send the ball with great speed. This leaves the defense with little time to react. A lot of players are great at serving but are not able to do this consistently. After a while a server can become predictable, therefore it is essential that these players use some variety in their attack. Being able to combine speed and precision is essential if you want to be a great server and Ivan is really excelling at combing both. Some people even think that he has the world’s fastest serve. This is hard to determine as you need special equipment to measure this. 

If you score a lot of points in a row, it can motivate the team and turn the match around. I have seen it multiple times when one team was winning and the match got turned around because the other team scored a few aces in a row. 

You can see some of his spectacular serves below:

4/ Jenia Grebennikov: who is the best libero in the world:

A libero is a defensive player. They often replace the middle blocker when this player is in the last row of the court. It is an intensive position as you have to run and dive a lot. This can lead to spectacular saves. The libero is also supposed to motivate the team and switch from defense to attack. Speed is essential for a libero and Jenia is a very fast player. He is often in the right position and able to create great saves. He is able to retrieve the ball from all sides of the court and even give a decent pass to the setter afterward. This requires a lot of coordination and ball-handling skills. Jenia is a French player with Russian roots. At the moment he plays in Zenith, Russia. During multiple championships (from the Olympics to World Championships), he has been chosen as best libero because he added so much value to his team. During the last Olympics, he was able to give his team the victory by defending really well. He is still in his early thirties so he should be able to play for a few years. Liberos often retire often quite early as it is a very intense role that demands a lot from a player, both mentally and physically. 

Let’s take a look at some of his defensive maneuvers below:

5/  Karch Kiraly:  who is the no 1 volleyball player: best allround player

What is unique about this player is that he won medals at the Olympics for beach and indoor volleyball. This shows how versatile his playing style was. After winning multiple medals and championships, he is currently a coach. He is now a coach for team USA (ladies) and was able to win the gold medals on the Olympics with that team in 2020. Not a lot of players have made the successful transition from player to successful coach. This shows how well he understands the game from a tactical point of view. He was a great defender and also scored a lot of points as an outside hitter. A lot of players excel at one aspect of volleyball but Karch was able to perform multiple functions and help the team in offense and defense. 

6/ Robertlandy Aties Simon: best middle-blocker

Middle blockers stand in the middle of the court and have to defend and attack really well. They are often taller players as they need to be able to block the ball at the net. Robertlandy is no exception with his 6 foot 10 inches. He is a phenomenal attacker as he can use his power to break the defense of the other team. After playing in Cuba, he also played in Italy and South Korea. The national team of Cuba was able to win a silver medal with him in 2010. This means that he was successful at a young age already. For a while, he was the highest-paid volleyball player in South Korea. This indicates how much value he was able to add to the team. 

Let’s take a look at some attacks and defenses below: 

7/ Bruno Rezende: best setter

Offering great assists is important. The setter coordinates the attack by doing so and needs a lot of tactical insight. Bruno is doing a great job at this. He can see which part of the defense is the weakest and send the ball in that direction. He is from Brazil and plays in Italy at the moment. After winning the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, he won the reward of ‘best setter or the Tournament’. A lot of people focus on the spiker or person that scores but it is often the setter that builds up this attack. Volleyball is a team sport and everyone has to work together to score points. A setter often receives difficult passes as the libero is doing his or her best to defend. In most instances, the setter is able to use this pass anyway and find a creative way to attack. Bruno is able to do this and sometimes can use very difficult passes and control the ball anyway. This is a great skill and takes years to perfect. 

8/  Dmitry Muserskiy: best opposite

Dmitry was only 8 years old when he started to play volleyball. After this, he played for the Russian national team and won several Championships (from European to the World championship). At the moment he plays in Japan. He is a really tall player and is able to leverage his length when he attacks. This allows him to smash the ball to the ground with a lot of force and at a steep angle. It is very hard to defend against this and sometimes multiple players try to block his attacks. In defense, he is able to block the ball a lot as well. It is not often that you see such a talented player that is able to add this much value to his team. 

9/ Kerri Walsh Jennings: best beach volleyball player

Kerri has had more than 133 victories during her career. She has been on a record winning streak of 112 matches in a row. Almost every tournament that they entered during this period was won by her and her partner. Beach volleyball is very intense and since you are only playing with two people per team, you have to be active all the time. For this reason, it is very impressive that she was able to play beach volleyball for such a long period of time at the highest level. A lot of players burn out after a few years or have one great tournament. Kerri pushed the envelope and kept going. Winning three successive gold medals in the Olympics is incredible. She has great defensive skills and was able to couple this with the experience of her team member Misty May-Treanor. Despite all her victories, she is still a humble person and helps to promote the popularity of volleyball. 

10/  Regla Torres: best female all-around player

Is a Cuban volleyball player. She is part of the Volleyball hall of fame because of her outstanding performance. She also won an award for ‘best player of the 20th century’ by FIVB. This is a great honor to receive. She was part of the Cuban national team that won three Olympic gold medals. At the moment she is retired and promoting volleyball all over the world. 

In terms of position, she was a middle blocker and hitter. She was the youngest volleyball player to receive an Olympic medal, as she was only 17 years old at the time.  Due to her will to win and hard work, she was able to overcome her lack of experience at the time. What is impressive is that she is a well-rounded player that can play on multiple positions; serving, receiving, spiking, and blocking.