2017 was a special year for the 28-year-old Olympic gold medalist Natália Zilio, as she debuted as Brazil’s national team captain and led her squad to titles at the FIVB Grand Prix (in which she also won the tournament’s MVP award), the Montreux Volley Masters, and the South American Championship. It was no surprise to many, then, that The Brazilian Olympic Comittee has just recently announced Fenerbahce’s star outside hitter as the year’s best volleyball player in the country. Here is how she responded to it:
“It was an honor to win this award, even more so knowing that so many athletes are standing out in our sport. I was very happy. Without a doubt, this would not have happened without my national team and club teammates, as well as the coaching staffs. All this is the result of hard work.
It was a really cool year. Although we are a new team, we have shown that we have the potential to fight on an equal footing with all the teams in the world. However, we know that we still have many things to improve and we can not deceive ourselves. This year is going to be even harder. We have the World Championship, which is our main goal. So we have to prepare very well to get to Japan in a position to fight for the title.”
Natália’s first tournament with the Brazilian national team this year will be the newly formed FIVB League of Nations, to be held in May.