VNL 2024 - News

ThaisaDaherDeMenezesBRAinaction

Thaisa in action during the 2018 World Championship, in her last international appearance

The long wait to see middle blocker Thaisa Menezes back in a Brazilian women’s national team uniform is set to end soon as the 35-year-old South American star announced she’ll be back with the team for the 2023 international season.

A two-time Olympic champion, Thaisa had her name included in the 30-player list submitted by head coach José ‘Zé Roberto’ Guimarães for the Volleyball Nations League 2023, but her presence in the squad wasn’t confirmed until Wednesday, when she announced her return in an Instagram post.

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Thaisa has last played internationally in 2018, when she was a part of the Brazilian team that finished seventh in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship. In the following years, the middle blocker decided to focus on her club career, but after the most recent of several attempts made over the years by Zé Roberto to bring her back, Thaisa finally decided to accept the challenge.

“I wanted to come here and talk about my return to the national team because there’s been a lot of speculation since my name was included in the list,” she said in a video message. “I only got to talk to Zé Roberto on Tuesday (May 9), when we aligned our ideas and because of that, I decided to say yes and return to the national team. I’m very happy and grateful for being back. I hope I can help the national team in the best possible way and I’ll give my best, as I’ve always done in my career.”

A Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic champion, Thaisa is one of the most accomplished players to ever feature for the Brazilian national team. In 12 seasons between 2007 and 2018, she won five FIVB World Grand Prix titles (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2016) and medals at the World Championship (silver in 2010, bronze in 2014), the FIVB World Cup (silver in 2007) and the FIVB Grand Champions Cup (silver in 2009).

Thaisa has also earned several individual awards in her career, being recognized as the MVP, best server, best blocker and best middle blocker in the World Grand Prix and the best blocker and the best player in her position at the 2014 World Championship.

Her return adds an important alternative in the middle for Zé Roberto, who also included Lara Nobre, Diana Alecrim, Lorena Viezel, Julia Kudiess, Ana Carolina ‘Carol’ da Silva, Milka Marcília and Valquíria Dullius as options for the position in his VNL selection.

Thaisa is currently with her club team Gerdau Minas, who finished second in the Brazilian Superliga last Sunday. The middle blocker will still play in the South American Club Championship this week before being officially called up by Zé Roberto.

As of now, Brazil have only five players called up, who are all already training in the Federation’s training facility in Saquarema – Diana, Lorena, setter Naiane Rios and liberos Natália ‘Natinha’ Araújo and Laís Vasques.

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