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Top 5 Ranked Mens Indoor Volleyball Players Of All Time

Table of Contents


Who are the top 5 men's indoor volleyball players of all time?

  1. Karch Kiraly (USA)
  2. Giba (Brazil)
  3. Sergio Santos (Brazil)
  4. Sergey Tetyukhin (Russia)
  5. Steve Timmons (USA)

1. Karch Kiraly

  • Kiraly has two Olympic Gold medals in indoor volleyball. In addition to that, he has won one indoor World Championship and one Olympic Gold medal in beach volleyball.
  • In college, Karch Kiraly played for the UCLA Bruins, winning three national titles in four years and only losing 5 games during that time.
  • Next to other volleyball greats, Karch Kiraly is a member of the sport's Hall of Fame.
  • Karch Kiraly was named by the Best Male Volleyball Player of the 20th Century by the FIVB.
  • Between winning gold medals, Karch Kiraly also found time to win some individual awards. He was named the World's Best Volleyball Player twice, in 1986 and 1988.

Karch Kiraly is probably the most talented and overall best volleyball player ever. Not only was he widely successful on the court, but also he transitioned into beach volleyball and was dominant, earning himself some praise also as one of the best beach volleyball players ever. But here, let's focus on Kiraly's glories indoor. Kiraly was successful at every point at his volleyball career, from his teenage years playing high school volleyball all the way to his coaching career, after retirement. Kiraly was a fierce competitor, with a desire to win above all else. The combination of his mindset with the talent of a once-in-a-lifetime player are why he is considered to be the best volleyball player in history. Kiraly established himself as a winner early in his career, only losing 5 games in four years as a student-athlete at UCLA. While taking his team to three national titles, Kiraly also earned All-American honors all his four years. With such a successful college career, it was unquestionable that Kiraly would become a great volleyball player. Only one year after graduating college Kiraly was part of the team that would end up winning the Olympic Gold in the 1984 Games, held in Los Angeles. Four years later, he would repeat the result, and be back-to-back Olympic champion, being named the tournament's best player by the FIVB. After an immensely successful career at the international indoor and beach volleyball levels, Karch Kiraly became coach Kiraly, teaching new athletes about the ways of volleyball. As a coach of the United States Women's volleyball team, Kiraly won one World Championship and one bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics, extending his legacy even more. Kiraly's accomplishments, talent, style, and history in volleyball are what make him the best volleyball player in history. It will be hard to ever be anyone in volleyball like Karch Kiraly.

2. Giba

  • With Giba on the court, Brazil's national team has never finished a single competition without a medal.
  • Playing for his country's national team Giba became one of the most successful volleyball players ever, winning every single major international volleyball title throughout his 19-year-long national team career.
  • Giba won the Olympic Gold medal with Brazil in 2004, and was elected the tournament's MVP. He would also win two silver medals in the next two editions, totalling four participations and three straight medals.
  • Throughout his career Giba has won a total of 8 MVP awards in international competitions, which include: Olympic Games, FIVB World Cup, South American Championship, FIVB World League, FIVB Senior World Championships, Pan American Games, FIVB U19 World Championships, and FIVB U21 World Championships.
  • Playing for Brazil in international competitions Giba has won 44 international medals, of which 30 were gold.

Gilberto Godoy Filho, but known globally simply as Giba, one of the greatest indoor male volleyball players ever. Looking back at the history of volleyball, it is hard to find a player that has won more than Giba, especially one that has won being so important to his team as Giba has been. Plain and simple, he has won every single major volleyball title a player can win, and more. Besides being widely celebrated in Brazil, he has also gained international fame for his accomplishments in volleyball. The Three-time World Champion was a leader on the court, and alongside some extremely talented teammates Giba was crucial in maintaining Brazil's legacy as a volleyball powerhouse. Never being the tallest player on the court, Giba made up with intelligence, leadership, energy, and physicality. Those characteristics made him into one of the best volleyball players in history, and helped him inspire his teammates and his country. There is no better word to describe Giba, if not "winner". To understand why he was so important in the history of volleyball, and why he is so high in the "Top 5 Men's Indoor Volleyball Players" list, remember that he has won: 3 Olympic Medals, 3 World Championships Gold medals, 4 World Cup medals, and nothing less than 12 World League medals. Also keep in mind that in most of those wins, he was the team's leader and center piece. Truly, Giba is one of the best to ever do it, and deservingly, he was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.

3. Sergio Santos

  • Sergio is one of only three other men's volleyball players to have four Olympic medals. He has won two gold and two silver medals, in four Olympic participations.
  • Serginho is one of the best defensive players ever, he has won a total of 39 individual awards throughout his career, including Olympics and World league MVP's. That is more awards than any other player at his position.
  • Sergio Santos has won 2 World Championships with Brazil, in 2002 and in 2006.
  • Throughout his career Sergio Santos has a total of 33 international medals, of which 24 are gold.
  • Still playing at the age of 43, Serginho has had one of the longest and most consistently successful careers of any volleyball player in history.

Much like Giba, Sergio Santos, or Serginho, was an important part of maintaining Brazil as a volleyball powerhouse, and in creating an almost unbeatable squad during much of the 2000's. A well rounded volleyball team has a balance between offense and defense. While Giba was Brazil's offensive pilar, Sergio Santos was the main piece of the defensive system of a team that has won everything. How good Serginho's defense can be seen through his many, many individual awards in categories such as Best Libero, Best Digger, and Best Receiver. But Sergio is also not short of glories of his team, he played up to the age of 40 with the Brazillian national team, winning countless medals, and played beyond his 40's at the club stage, still as a crucial player to every team he was part of. What made Serginho a special player, besides his defensive talents, was his dynamism, being able to create good offensive situations when necessary. One of the greatest volleyball players ever, Sergio Santos is the only male player to make it to four straight Olympic finals, and getting medals on all of them. The most remarkable of all of them was his last one, in 2016. Playing in Rio, in front of his country, Serginho was the most important player in Brazil's team throughout the tournament, leading them to the Gold medal. At 40 years old, Serginho, was elected the tournament's MVP, and with his second Olympic gold and tears in his eyes, he retired from the national team.

4. Sergey Tetyukhin

  • Sergey Tetyukhin has participated in a total of six editions of the Olympic Games, a volleyball record, winning four medals. He has one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals.
  • Tetyukhin is one of only 3 male volleyball players to have won four Olympic medals. He was crowned Olympic champion in 2012, after defeating Brazil in the final.
  • Due to the glories achieved in his sport, Sergey Tetyukhin was selected as Russia's Flag-Bearer in the 2016 Olympic Games, one of the greatest honors an athlete can get.
  • At the club level, Sergey has won the CEV Champions League, one of the best continental leagues in the world, four times. In addition to that, he has two bronze and one silver medals
  • Tetyukhin played a big part of his career for clubs in Russia. From 1992 to 2018 he won a total of 23 national titles, between Russian Cups and Championships.

With one of the longest and most consistently successful careers in volleyball history, Sergey Tetyukhin is unquestionably a sport legend. Sergey's time with the Russian National team started early. He was part of the team that was crowned U21 World Champion in 1995, and just a year later he would join the senior team, going to his first Olympic Games, taking the biggest stage in sports at only 21. From 1996 until 2016, Tetyukhin competed in every edition of the Olympics, winning four medals on the way. Before the 2012 Olympics in London Sergey had still not achieved the ultimate goal and won an Olympic Gold medal. At 36, many saw this as his last opportunity to reach the highest place on the podium. Russia made it to the final against the favorites, the Brazilians. It seemed unlikely that Tetyukhin would win his Gold medal, especially after Brazil opened a 2 set advantage and had the chance to end the game. Somehow, the Russians came back, and Tetyukhin had achieved his career's greatest success. Still, he was not done, and came back for his 6th and final Olympic Games in 2016. In addition to his four Olympic medals, Tetyukhin has also won two FIVB World Cups and one FIVB World League. At the club level, Sergey Tetyukhin played in two of the strongest leagues in the planet, the Russian League and the Italian League. His teams were always widely successful, winning not only national titles but also continental trophies. Tetyukhin's career and longevity made him a Russian legend. For that reason, at the opening ceremony of his last Olympics, he was choses no carry Russia's flag into the stadium, representing a whole nation, for which he left it all out on the court.

5. Steve Timmons

  • Due to his history in the sport, Steve Timmons is a member of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame
  • Timmons has 3 Olympic medals, two golds and one bronze, in a total of four Olympic appearances.
  • As a student-athlete for USC, Timmons took his team to the NCAA's Final Four all of his four years, winning one title. During that time he got All-American and All-Conference honors.
  • Playing in the Italian league, Steve led Il Messagero to a record of 24-0 during the 1990 season, winning the league. The following year, his team won the Club World Championship.

The power of his spikes and what he accomplished with it is what makes Steve Timmons one of the best volleyball players of all time. One of the best and most talented offensive weapons in volleyball history, Timmons was part of the American generation that won two consecutive Olympic Gold medals. Alongside Karch Kiraly and others, Timmons is part of the reason why the United States has a tradition in volleyball, and is considered one of the sport's powerhouses. Known as a merciless and strong spiker, Timmons took pride in having an unstoppable spike, a part of his game that really worked on to get to a high level. Besides having three Olympic medals, Timmons is also a World Champion, winning the title with the United States in 1986. During his time playing volleyball Timmons was also recognized for his talents with individual awards. Probably the most important award in his career, Steve was chosen as the MVP of the 1984 Olympics, when he took home his first gold. In addition to that, he was selected as the FIVB's Best Blocker, and chosen as America's best men's volleyball player by the USOC. Part of a generation that will never be forgotten by the volleyball world, Steve Timmons stapled his name as one of the sport's greatests.



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