It’s not a secret that the best volleyball players play in the best leagues. Some people don’t know what are the best leagues, so in this post, I decided to make a ranking of the best men’s professional volleyball leagues in the world. These leagues are attractive for fans, have dozens of world-class players, and have the best clubs in the world.
Before we begin, I just wanted to mention that this ranking has been made according to international awards of clubs, attractiveness of games, the level of competition, the quality of matches, popularity, earnings and of course the quality of players.
So, what are the best professional volleyball leagues in the world?
|2.||Russia-Volleyball Super League|
|3.||Brazil- Super League|
|5.||Turkey- Efe League|
|6.||Germany- Volleyball Bundesliga|
|7.||Belgium- Euro Millions Volley League|
|8.||France- Pro A|
|9.||Argentina- Serie A1|
|10.||Iran- Super League|
1. Italy- Superlega
Top 3 clubs: Lube Civitanova, Sir Safety Perugia, Diatec Trentino
Stars: Wilfredo Leon, Jenia Grebennikov, Osmany Juantorena
Game quality: 10/10
Some people may argue about the best volleyball player, some may argue about the best volleyball club, but when it comes to the best volleyball league, there aren’t any doubts. The Italian Superlega is the best volleyball league in the world.
It contains the best clubs in the world that everyone knows like Lube Civitanova, Trentino Volley, Perugia, and Modena that every year succeed is various competitions. The full list of the best volleyball clubs is here. Italian Superlega won the CEV ranking that includes all club European competitions. How powerful Italian clubs are, shows the Club World Championship. In the last 5 years, the Italian club was always on the podium, having won the last 2 editions of this tournament. The same applies to the Champions League (4 times on the podium in the last 5 years). The Superlega is also one of the most affordable for players and the best ones make up to €1.000.000. It’s super attractive for fans because the level of competition is extremely high and there are dozens of world-class players like Jenia Grebennikov, Wilfredo Leon, or Aaron Russell. Here’s the ranking of the best volleyball players in 2020.
Even though Superlega is the best in the world, it still not as popular as football in Italy.
2. Russia-Volleyball Super League
Top 3 clubs: Zenit Kazan, Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, Bielgorje Bielgorod
Stars: Earvin N’Gapeth, Maxim Mikhailov, Fedor Voronkov
Game quality: 9/10
The Russian Volleyball Super League was established in 1992. There are a couple of strong teams, with Zenit Kazan that from 2014 to 2018 won the league 5 times in a row. Is Zenit the strongest team in the world? Find out in this ranking. But in the next season, Kuzbass Kemerovo stopped Zenit’s domination.
There are at least 5 teams that fight to win the Russian league every year. The one who wins has a big chance to succeed in some international tournaments. Zenit Kazan regularly stands on the podium of the Champions League and the Club World Championship. They won 4 out of the last 5 Champions League series, which is amazing. Bielogorje Bielgorod also does well in less prestigious competitions, having won the CEV Cup in 2018 and the Challenge Cup one year later. Overall, since 2011, at least one Russian team takes part in the final four of some international competition. Russian domination around the world is possible because of huge money. Clubs have big budgets and players in this league are known for making a lot, a couple of them exceeding €1.000.000.
Russian League isn’t that thrilling like the Italian league, because most of the time there’s either one or a couple of other dominating teams.
3. Brazil- Super League
Top 3 clubs: Sada Cruzeiro, Funvic Taubate, SESI São Paulo
Stars: Bruno, Facundo Conte, Sidao
Game quality: 8/10
This league is pretty specific. It’s outside Europe, which means, it’s hard to find some European players. But it’s still one of the strongest leagues because there are Brazilian players who play or used to play for the National Team. Brazil is one of the strongest teams in the world. The full list of the best national volleyball teams you can find here.
It’s not that easy to measure how good the Super League is. They play against teams from other continents only in the Club World Championship. They usually do very well. Sada Cruzeiro in the last 8 editions, played 5 times in the final and won 3 times, beating Russian teams every time. The team from Cruzeiro also won the last 5 editions of the South American Club Championship. In the last season, Funvic Taubate won the Super League by 1 point. It’s a strong team with Bruno Rezende and Thaless in the squad. Besides Sada and Funvic, also SESC-RJ and SESI worthily represent the Brazilian League. There are not any official data when it comes to the earnings in this league, but I bet it’s a bit less than in the Russian or Italian league.
4. Poland- PlusLiga
Top 3 clubs: PGE Skra Belchatow, ZAKSA, Asseco Resovia Rzeszow
Stars: Mariusz Wlazly, Milad Ebadipur, Piotr Nowakowski
Game quality: 8/10
Polish PlusLiga is another great league with dozens of young and talented players. It includes 14 teams, most of them on a similar level. The most popular and titled teams are PGE Skra Belchatow, ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle, and Asseco Resovia Rzeszow.
The level of all games is very high and it’s hard to believe, but no Polish club has won any international competition. The last team who did it was AZS Czestochowa in 2012, having won the Challenge Cup. But very often Polish clubs take part in various championships. PlusLiga is considered as the league of players who promote themselves and find better clubs in Europe. Earnings are lower compared to the best leagues, but it doesn’t hold back top-class players from playing in this league. You can find here stars like Milad Ebadipur, Taylor Sander, Benjamin Toniutti, and David Smith. However, they aren’t on the list of the best players in the world that you can see here. One of the richest players in this league is experienced Mariusz Wlazly who allegedly makes even €300.000 per season.
5. Turkey- Efe League
Top 3 clubs: Fenerbahce SK, Arkas Spor Izmir, Halkbank Ankara
Stars: Salvador Hidalgo Oliva, Konstantin Čupkovic, Emre Batur
Game quality: 7/10
Turkish Efe League is another solid league, where players are getting paid really well. Volleyball fans should know Turkish teams that have played well in the last years. They have no success in the Club World Championship, but they play well in the other competitions.
In the last 3 CEV’s editions, 3 other Turkish teams stood on the podium. Players of such teams like Halkbank Ankara, Arkas Spor Izmir and Fenerbahce SK make good money. According to unofficial data, a couple of them earn €500.000 per season. Most of the Efe League’s players are Turks, but there are also many remarkable foreign players including Cuban Salvador Hidalgo Oliva, and Serbian Konstantin Čupković. At least 8 out of 12 Turkish teams can compete to win the Efe League. The most titled team is Eczacıbaşı having won 12 titles.
6. Germany- Volleyball Bundesliga
Top 3 clubs: Berlin Recycling Volleys, VfB Friedrichshafen, UV Frankfurt
Stars: Nicolas Le Goff, Siergiej Grankin, Jeffrey Jendryk
Game quality: 6/10
German Volleyball Bundesliga for years is in the top 10 best volleyball leagues in the world. Some people may accuse the Bundesliga of not having any success in the Club World Championship, but they have a few good teams that do quite well in the European Championship.
It was a long time ago, but VfB Friedrichshafen won the Champions League in 2007. Since that time, Berlin Recycling Volleys has taken part in 2 “final four” tournaments, but they were able to earn a bronze medal only in 2015. The only recent success of the German club was in 2016 when Berlin Recycling Volleys won the CEV Cup. When it comes to the domestic competition, the Bundesliga is clearly split into 4 or 5 teams that fight to win the title, and the rest on a worse level. The Volleyball Bundesliga isn’t as popular as soccer (football) Bundesliga in Germany. That’s why players don’t earn as much as in Russia or Italy and there aren’t many world-class players. The best ones make about €200.000 per season.
7. Belgium- Euro Millions Volley League
Top 3 clubs: Noliko Maaseik, Knack Roeselare, Lindemans Aalst
Stars: Gert Van Walle, Michiel Ahyi, Pieter Coolman
Game quality: 4/10
If I had to choose the most boring league of this ranking, I’d seriously consider Belgium Euro Millions Volley League. That’s because it includes only 8 teams, and only 3 of them are serious. If you don’t believe me, you should know that in the last season, the third team had 32 points and the fourth team had 16 points less. That’s a huge difference for such a low number of clubs. The teams that dominate this league sometimes appear well in minor international tournaments. For example, Knack Roeselare played in the final four of the CEV Cup. At the same time, Prefaxis Menen was the third in the Challenge Cup. Belgium League is pretty old and it was established in 1944.
8. France- Ligue A
Top 3 clubs: Tours VB, Paris Volley, Chaumont VB 52
Stars: Nicolas Rossard, Renan Buiatti, Gary Chauvin
Game quality: 6/10
French Pro A is a quite competitive league with decent clubs that sometimes surprise European volleyball fans. For example, in 2017 Tours VB won the CEV Cup, beating the great Diatec Trentino in the final. You can’t ignore this team from Tour.
It has won the Ligue A-League 8 times and now it’s the best French club without world-class players, but with a good connection of talented players from around the world. Pro A is a pretty attractive league and even though, Tour VB is winning right now, it’s always thrilling to see how they compete. In the last season, Tour won, but only by one point over Montpelier Volley and two points over Rennes Volley 35. Ligue A is a great place for young players because it allows them to gain some experience and make decent money.
9. Argentina- Serie A1
Top 3 clubs: UPCN Voley Club, Personal Bolivar, Ciudad
Stars: Zbigniew Bartman, Martín Ramos, Nicolás Lazo
Game quality: 4/10
Let’s be honest. The Argentinian Serie A1 isn’t a popular volleyball destination for players. It’s also unknown for volleyball fans. Do you know at least 2 teams from this league? I doubt it. But I think you should pay some attention to the Argentinian Seria A.
Teams from this country very often participate in the final four of the Club World Championship. The biggest success holds UPCN San Juan that in 2014 and 2015 was third in this competition beating Paykan Teheran and Sada Cruzeiro. There isn’t the Champions League in South America, but there is a different tournament called CSV Club Championships. Of course, Brazilian teams dominate there, but sometimes Argentinian teams dig in their heels and win it. It was in 2015, 2013, and 2010. Argentinian players are making rather dimes compared to other meaningful leagues and that’s why this destination isn’t popular for foreign players, but there are exceptions, of course. The most titled club is UPCN Voley Club, having won 7 titles since 2010.
10. Iran- Super League
Top 3 clubs: Paykan Teheran, Matin Varamin, Saipa Alborz
Stars: Farhad Zarif, Farhad Zarif, Kay van Dijk
Game quality: 5/10
Iran Super League is a league on a good level. Most of the players come from Iran- one of the strongest men’s national team and that’s why it’s so powerful. It includes names like Sa’id Maruf and Farhad Zarif. It’s not so boring, because there is no one dominating team. The most successful club at the international level is Paykan Teheran. In 2015 this club was in the final four of the Club World Championship and in 2010 they were third. Iranian Super League contains 13 teams in which at least 7 seriously compete to win the league. I assume that Super League can be affordable for players, but this part of the world isn’t too safe and it’s not so popular among foreign players.
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