A big bet for Brazilian volleyball, scheduled for her first Olympics at the age of 17, Ana Cristina rejected playing in the Volleyball World Cup, claiming that she would like to spend more time training at her club, Fenerbahçe, from Turkey. The request for dismissal, made through businessman Eduardo Fonseca, fell like a bombshell on the selection.
Unlike Julia Bergmann, another striker, who since the beginning of the international season warned that she would not play at the World Cup, between September and October, because she intended to dedicate herself to the last year of graduation at Georgia Tech, an American university, Ana Cristina never spoke with the committee about being dismissed.
At the end of the League of Nations, the players of the selection received two weeks off, with the condition that they did not abandon their physical preparation. Ana Cristina informed that she would train in São Caetano do Sul (SP), where she was revealed, but did not show up to do any activity at the local club’s gym.
At the end of last week, the reason was explained in a phone call from Fonseca to Zé Roberto: she would not accept a call-up for the World Cup. According to the manager, the player was next to her, with one of the headphones in her ear. But the report found that she did not speak with the coach of the selection.
The official justification is that Ana Cristina wants to dedicate herself to training with her club, Fenerbahçe, one of the strongest and richest clubs in world volleyball. She was signed a year ago on a four-year deal, but played little in her first year, when she was just 17, something natural for such a young athlete.
To the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation, Ana Cristina’s manager claimed that she wants to prepare herself to be better technically, aiming at the future of her career at the club and in the national team. Also according to the agent, in the player’s opinion, this would not happen with her remaining in the national team, training and playing alongside Macris, the national team setter and who was hired by Fener to be a starter, or showing her talent at a World Cup.
Ana Cristina was annoyed by having played little in the League of Nations, but she had everything to gain more space in the selection, since Julia Bergmann, holder in the final phase of the VNL, is not going to the World Cup. In addition, Aninha (as she is called in the national team) left a good impression in the final of the tournament, when she was selected in the last set and scored six points, showing that she wanted to play and that she grows in decisive matches.
Although Zé Roberto and the confederation have known about the waiver request since the end of last week, Ana Cristina was summoned on Monday because she was in the planning of the technical committee, unlike Julia Bergmann, for example.
The waiver request was formalized yesterday, leaving the group with 15 players, of which 14 will be registered for the World Cup. There is no prospect of calling up a new name – in the men’s team, problems in the opposite position made Wallace give up his retirement from the team to play in the men’s World Cup.
For this season, Zé Roberto lost Fê Garay (off to dedicate herself to a pregnancy), Natália (retired from the national team), Tandara (suspended for doping), Maira (requested a waiver for personal reasons), Gabi Candido (requested a waiver for a facial paralysis) and Julia Bergmann (requested leave to complete college). They all play in the same position as Ana Cristina.
At just 18 years old, Ana Cristina has a long career ahead of her, but with the way in which the request for a cut was made, her future in the national team is compromised.