When you think about the most popular sports in the world, the likes of soccer, basketball, or hockey may come to mind. Yet, there are some surprises among the most popular sports out there, and these include cricket which is massively popular in India and Australia, and volleyball which currently has over a billion fans all over the world.

The rapid growth in the popularity of volleyball has been much thanks to the improving quality of domestic leagues, which continue to produce amazing young players and prodigies. These are the top 5 volleyball leagues, ranked from 1st to 5th:

Superlega – Italy

While there may be some disputes as to who the best volleyball players are and which team is the very best, Italy’s Superlega is widely considered the number one domestic league in the world. With clubs like Lube Civitanova, Perugia, and Modena, Superlega has stood above all else for a number of years.

The Italian clubs have been performing at the highest level and winning the Club World Championship on a regular basis, proving the dominance of Italian volleyball. The Italian Superlega is also the one league in the world where players can make the biggest salaries, with individuals like Wilfredo Leon and Aaron Russell earning up to EUR 1.000.000 per season.

Volleyball Super League – Russia

There are many leagues that can compete with the Italians, but According to USSportbonus.com, it is the Russian Volleyball Super League that takes second place in the worldwide rankings. The competition in the Russian league is extremely close, with the likes of Zenit Kazan, Lokomotiv Novosibirsk and others often going neck and neck for the title.

Zenit Kazan’s success in the Champions League in recent years has been outstanding, and it is one of the big reasons we placed the Super League on the second place. This is not to say that Zenit is the only strong Russian team, as others have also performed well in international competitions. Like the Superlega, Super League offers big salaries to the best players, which in turn brings many of the biggest names to Russia.

Super League – Brazil

Brazil has a long volleyball tradition and has historically been one of the top national sides in the world. Today, Brazil remains one of the best volleyball teams, but their league is finding it hard to keep all the great domestic talents who sometimes opt to go play in Europe where they can earn more money.

Brazilian teams only play against international sides at the Club World Championship, but Sada Cruzeiro has shown that they have what it takes to compete against them, winning 3 of the last 8 competitions and coming second two more times. The salaries in the Brazilian Super League can’t really compete with those in Europe, but the level of volleyball played there certainly can.

Efe League – Turkey

Efe League is not on the level of Italian or Russian premiere divisions, but it is a competition with many solid sides that do pretty well in international competitions. The Turkish teams have failed to have success at the Club World Championship, which is the one stage they are still waiting to shine on. That said, teams like Fenerbahce SK and Halkbank Ankara have done well in CEV and other competitions against competition from other parts of Europe.

PlusLiga – Poland

The Polish PlusLiga is an exciting competition because it consists of many teams that are on a similar level of quality, creating lots of drama each season. While there is no doubt that Polish teams such as PGE Skra Belchatow and AZS Czestochowa play European level volleyball, they need to add some international silverware to their lockers in order to be considered on par with Italians, Russians, or the Brazilians.