Top 5 Ranked Mens Water Polo Players Of All Time
Who are the top 5 men's water polo players of all time?
- Dezso Gyarmati
- Tony Azevedo
- Aleksandar Sapic
- Denes Varga
- Peter Rusoran
1. Dezso Gyarmati
Dezso Gyarmati is hands down the most successful Water Polo players in the history of the Olympics. He has three gold medals, a silver, and a bronze medal. He is widely regarded as the most legendary Water Polo athlete of all time. As both a player and coach, he appeared in eight different Olympic Games with a total of four gold medals.
His first Olympic Gold came in 1952 in Helsinki, Finland. In Melbourne 1956, Gyarmati played a large role in what has gone down as one of most famous matches of all time. In the Semi-finals against the USSR, it was during a time where the Hungarian revolution was crushed by the Soviet Army. Gyarmati scored the first goal, and was involved in the next three in what proved to be a victory for the Hungarians. The team then went on to win the gold medal for the second straight time.
After a Bronze in 1960, Gyarmati and the Hungarians sought redemption in Tokyo 1964. He proved to be dominant in the final round performance which included a victory of Italy and the USSR, to give him a third gold medal.
Gyamarti then found a lot of success as a coach, and maintained a close link to Water Polo for the rest of his life.
2. Tony Azevedo
Tony Azevedo was born in Rio De Janeiro, but moved to California when he was only a month old. Suffering a near death experience when he was four years old, doctors told his parents he would never be able to play sports. Despite that, he pushed against all odds and has gone on to become one of the best American Water Polo players of all time.
He attended Stanford University where he won two NCAA titles and became the youngest member of the US Olympic team in 2000 at the age of 18. He also set a NCAA record with 332 goals, destroying the previous record of 235. He was also the first player to the legendary Peter Cutino Award four years in a row.
Azevedo has been on every United States Olympic Team since 2000, and he was named captain in 2012. He played a large role in helping the team receive a silver medal in Beijing 2008, which was the country's first medal since the 1988 games in Seoul. In 2004, Azevedo was named the American Water Polo Coaches Player of the year for the fourth consecutive season. He also set a record in 2015 when he competed in his eight FINA World Championships, the most out of any Water Polo player. He also led the United States team to the championships in the Pan American games in 2011.
3. Aleksandar Sapic
Aleksandar Sapic had a Water Polo career that lasted from 1993 until 2009, he is one of the top players to ever play Water Polo for Serbia.
At the European Championships in 2006, Sapic was the tournament's top scorer with 33 goals, as the Serbians went on to win the gold medal. Sapic played in 385 official matches for the national team, and he scored a record of 981 goals. He was the top scorer four times in the World League tournaments and he won the title of top scorer twice in the World Cup. He also was a top scorer twice in the Olympic Games.
At the young age of 17, Sapic joined the Yugoslavia national team in 1995. In his long career, he represented Yugosslavia in the 200 Olympic games, Serbia and Montenegro at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and Serbia in the 2008 Beijing Games. Respectively he won a bronze in 2000, silver in 2004, and another bronze in 2008.
Sapic spent seven seasons in VK Becej where he won six Yugoslav league titles and six Yugoslav cups. He led the team to the 1990/2000 European Champions League title, as he scored 5 goals in the championship game. In 2006, he joined Russian Water Polo club Shturm who offered him $300,000 a season, making him the highest paid player in the world.
4. Denes Varga
Still in the prime of his career, Denes Varga has already made quite the name for himself throughout his career. A member of the club team of Ferncvaros, and representing the country of Hungary Varga has found an immense amount of success in his young career.
Varga won the Total Waterpolo International best player award in 2019. 30 professionals and 18 editors and writers named who they thought was the best player in the past year. Varga also led his team Ferncvaros to a perfect season in 2018, as he played an instrumental role in leading the team to defeat anyone that stood in their way. He was also named the Male Water Polo player of the year in 2013 by the International Swimming federation and the European Swimming federation. In the 2013 World Championships, he was named the MVP. He was also the MVP of the European championship in 2014, and then the MVP of the 2014 OB 1 League in Hungary.
Varga is a two time Olympian, as he competed in the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London games. In 2008, he scored a total of 10 goals, and led Hungary to a gold medal where they beat the United States in the final round.
5. Peter Rusoran
A teammate of Gyarmati, Rusoran was a member of the Hungary National Team. As a player, he won the Olympic gold medal in 1963 in Tokyo and also got the bronze in the 1960 games in Rome. He was also a part of the winning team in 1965 that took home the gold medal at the Summer Universiade in Budapest, Hungary.
Born in Budapest, he began playing water polo at the age of nine. In 1952, he joined the club Voros Meteor, where he playedr nine years. In 1961, he moved to Csepel Auto where he played for eight years. In 1969 he joined Vasas SC, which is where he played until the end of his career in 1972. He led Vasas SC to Hungarian Cup title in 1971.
Rusoran played in 103 games for the Hungarian Water Polo team between 19598-19688. In the 1960 summer games where they won the bronze medal, he played in two matches and scored six goals. Four years later, the team won the gold medal. He scored eight goals in six matches. He was the best Hungarian scorer of the championship.
After he retired from Professional Water Polo, Rusoran became the head coach for Vasas SC and led them to seven Hungarian Championship titles. They also won two European Championships on the continental level in 1980 and 1985. Whether it was as a coach or as a player, Rusoran proved to be one of the most famous Water Polo names in history.