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26/01/2019 21:00
French star Le Roux cannot wait for EuroVolley 2019 on home soil
CEV EuroVolley 2019 Men

Luxembourg, January 26, 2018. French Volleyball star Kévin Le Roux, a 2015 European champion and World League gold medallist, is currently spending his first season outside of Europe – playing for five-time national champions Sada Cruzeiro in Brazil.

“Life is good in Belo Horizonte! I eat well, it is nice to live here and things are going well in Volleyball too. We are first in the national championship, we will be playing the Final Four of the Brazilian Cup this weekend, and we hope to win this Cup. Otherwise, no injury, the back is doing fine and I am happy,” Le Roux says. “Belo Horizonte is not a very touristic city, it is not Rio nor Sao Paulo, but it is a nice city, with about 3 million inhabitants and a lot of things to do, even if I have to admit that since I arrived, I did not have much time to visit. In any case, I settled in an apartment in the beautiful neighbourhoods of Belo Horizonte, and I have friends coming in February and March, and it will be a good thing for me.”

Le Roux found some little time to go home as well. “We had a break during the holidays, so I went to Istanbul to see my girlfriend who is playing for Galatasaray, before going to Paris and to Nantes to see my family. I returned on January 1 to Brazil,” Le Roux recounts.

Le Roux wearing the shirt of Sada Cruzeiro at the 2018 Club World Championship in Poland

How does it feel to play in the Brazilian championship? “It is a strong league, where you test yourself against the Brazilian way of playing Volleyball, technical and fast, but also physical, because the opponents jump high and it hard, as the members of the Brazilian national team do as well. There are four teams dominating, but those who are in the fifth to eighth place are also quite strong, so the matches are quite tight and we cannot underestimate these teams at all. This was quite a surprise to me,” Le Roux continues. “The ambiance is hot and the stadiums are often full. We have one of the smaller stadiums, with some 2,500 seats, but it is hot there, because there is no air conditioning, the public likes the show, people dance, sing, party, as the Brazilians do. I know this since the Olympics in Rio.”

Le Roux plays alongside players he knows from the national team. “That is right: there is the middle Isac and the second opposite of the Brazilian national team, Evandro. It is nice to play with them, they know Volleyball, they like it, and they are good lads. We can have a drink together after training or a game, it is cool, and I like their mentality. In the team, there is also Taylor Sander, the US receiver, also a good guy, even if we see him a little less because he just had his little baby who is now six months old.”

Sada Cruzeiro underperformed at the FIVB Club World Championship in Poland where they failed to make the semis. “We played badly, we cannot deny it, it was not the level we are used to, and it is hard to explain why. We were really thinking of getting out of the pool, beating Resovia, but they played a very good game and we had many problems. It was the first such championship for me, so it was still a good experience and it was nice to see Thibault (Rossart), Rafa (Redwitz), but also Jenia (Grebennikov),” Le Roux recounts.

Kévin Le Roux playing for Les Bleus against Poland during the 2018 World Championship in Bulgaria

Le Roux feels much responsibility in the team. “You only have two foreigners in a team of fourteen, so foreigners are important and everyone expects a lot from them. Of course, we have a game plan, but the coach knows that I like to play freely and he trusts me, so I can play my game and I am happy with that. Under these conditions, if they offer me a contract to continue here, I will sign it immediately, with my eyes closed! I feel good here, Volleyball is good, and life is beautiful. Now it is too early to talk about it, since I do not know what they plan to do.”

Kévin will be one of the star players for France at the CEV EuroVolley 2019. “I saw the results of the draw and it looks balanced, with two big teams per pool. We have Italy, we know them well, and Bulgaria can cause us problems too. The rest, they are not necessarily big Volleyball nations, but we need to win these games to finish as one of the first two and have a good place in the 8th finals. We cannot wait to play this European Championship. There will be the VNL before, the Olympic qualification will be important, so we will still have a busy summer, and we will have to prepare well to get in shape for the European Championship.”

In the Olympic qualifier scheduled for August, France will play Poland, Slovenia and Tunisia. “When my Brazilian teammates saw our pool, they said ‘Ouch!’. It is going to be tough. Poland is the top, since they are double world champions, with the addition of Leon who will strengthen the team even further. However, they are not unbeatable. Slovenia is also solid, we beat them 3-0 in the 2015 EuroVolley final but we had some problems,” Le Roux concludes.

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