The Brazilian top players will finish the Moscow Grand Slam together this week, but after that they will go their own way. Ricardo is the initiator of this decision, he already has a new partner waiting for him: Pedro Cunha.
The two meters tall blocker Ricardo said on Thursday in the Russian capital that he needed new motivation for his career. After eight successful years with Emanuel Rego, becoming world champion in 2003, olympic champion in 2004 and winning over 30 World Tour titles together, Ricardo has been playing with Marcio for the past 1,5 years. Just a few weeks after their second place at the World Championships in Rome and first in the Stavanger Grand Slam, Ricardo pulled the plug.
“It just does not feel good. Now is the right moment to change, so we will have enough time to prepare for the Olympics in London next year”, said Ricardo, who participated in three Olympics so far. “In Brazil there are three good defenders that are available for me to play with at the moment; Marcio, Harley and Cunha. I evaluated the past 1,5 year and talked to the technical coaches at the Brazilian team. And they think that the combination with Cunha will work better.”
There are also some young talented players in Brazil, but it will take a while before they will reach the right level. Ricardo: “There are 3 to 4 talents, but they only play in Brazil. Because there are so many good Brazilian teams it is hard for them to get through the country quota on the World Tour. But they need to play in Europe to get the experience. It will take them probably 3 to 4 years to reach our level.”
Marcio is at the least not happy with Ricardo’s decision to split. “I do not understand, we won silver in the World Championships, gold in Stavanger. I really do not know the reason. He just told me he is not happy playing with me.’’ Playing together in Moscow for the last time, must be weird then. “No”, Marcio answered. “I have no problem staying focussed here. I am a professional, no problem.”
The 37-year old Marcio now has to decide what his beach volleyball future is going to look like. “I really do not know yet. But I will get over it. I have experienced worse in the past.”