Sokolov Announces Retirement from National Team


Sokolov Announces Retirement from National Team

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Bulgaria’s Star Captain Tsvetan Sokolov Retires from National Volleyball Team

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Following the FIVB Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers, Tsvetan Sokolov, Bulgaria’s celebrated opposite and team captain, announced his retirement from the national team. This decision was confirmed upon the team’s return from the event in Xi’an.

In a statement to the media at Sofia’s airport, Sokolov expressed his emotions, saying, “Yes, that was my last tournament with the national team. This is very emotional for me. It was an honor and a pleasure to wear the Bulgarian colors and the Bulgarian flag. I am extremely thankful for all the emotions the national team gave me. But I think I have to put an end to this journey because there are other boys who need to start theirs. I think 17 years with the national team is enough for me.

Under the leadership of their 2.06m-tall captain, Bulgaria demonstrated a significantly improved performance at the Olympic qualifiers compared to their recent competitions. While they narrowly missed securing a spot at Paris 2024, their fifth-place finish in Pool C, with four wins in seven matches, exceeded expectations. This was especially impressive considering they were the lowest-ranked team in the pool at the start of the tournament.

Sokolov was Bulgaria’s top scorer in five of the six matches he played in Xi’an, achieving over 20 points in four of them. In his final match wearing the Bulgarian jersey, the 33-year-old striker delivered an impressive performance, scoring 27 points in a 3-2 victory over Belgium, ultimately ranking as the fourth-highest scorer in the pool.

It was a challenging decision,” Sokolov shared. “I had been contemplating it over the last few seasons. I always strive to give my best when playing for the team, but my body can no longer bear the workload. We all aimed to qualify for the Olympics, and regrettably, we came just short of that goal. The dream of going to the Olympic Games is the last thing that fades away.

Sokolov received his first call to the national team in 2006, at the young age of 16. Throughout his tenure with the Lions, he contributed to the team’s bronze medal at the 2009 CEV European Championship and their fourth-place finish at the 2012 London Olympics, marking Bulgaria’s most recent appearance at the Games. He was also recognized on the Dream Team of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World League and secured the title of best scorer in the World League in 2016.

“It is an honor to play for the national team and represent your country,” Sokolov emphasized. “There are some incredibly talented young players who need the opportunity to embark on their challenging journeys through the national team, to endure and learn from the setbacks, mistakes, and challenges they will encounter. Through hard work and sacrifice, I believe the team can once again rank among the top 10 in the world.

svetan Sokolov’s illustrious club career continues to flourish. He embarked on his professional journey with Bulgaria’s Marek Union Ivkoni Dupnitsa and subsequently played for renowned teams in Italy, Turkey, and Russia. Along with securing numerous national championships in these countries, Sokolov’s achievements include claiming the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship title three times with Italy’s Itas Diatec Trentino Trento and achieving victory in the CEV Champions League three times, twice with Trentino and once with another Italian club, Cucine Lube Civitanova. His impressive collection boasts an additional eight podium finishes in these prestigious competitions.

Sokolov’s club career has earned him several noteworthy individual accolades, including three Best Opposite and two Best Scorer recognitions in the Club World Championships and one Best Opposite and two Best Scorer honors in the Champions League.


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