Sam Deru, one of the strongest sideplayers in Europe, collected with Dynamo Moscow in the last volleyball season all the trophies in which the club took part – the Russian Championship among Super League teams, the Russian Cup and the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) Cup. Ironically, having become the winner of the “best player of the season” award according to Dynamo fans in 2020, this year he lost his place in the starting lineup, losing the competition to Yaroslav Podlesnykh and Anton Syomyshev.
Despite this, in the Final Six match with Torch from Novy Urengoy, in which the blue and white “burned” 0: 2 and were in the set from a sensational departure, it was the Belgian who pulled the team to the coveted semi-final. And in the final he brought decisive points, blocking several attacks of St. Petersburg Zenit. In an interview with Izvestia, the Euroleague champion as part of the Belgian national team spoke about the triumphal season with Dynamo, the final of the Russian championship with Zenit, which the blue and white won the eighth out of eight this season, his partners, and also confirmed that he would leave “Dynamo”.
– What can you say about this fantastic season for Dynamo Moscow?
– An incredible season, of course. We won three tournaments. This doesn’t happen often. We must share and enjoy these emotions. We showed great play, especially in the final Tournament of Six. This is not a series of five matches, here you had to win every meeting in order not to get knocked out.
– In the decisive matches at the Dynamo arena, you took four games out of four. How did this become possible?
– I think our team has talented players. We have a lot of individually strong performers, and the atmosphere and team chemistry are in perfect order. We believed in each other. It’s hard to explain when you win everything you can. Of course, you can say that we were better than the rest, but it’s really difficult to win all the time. Of course, such a high level of mutual understanding and relationships in a team does not happen often in a career. And we are grateful to each other for how everything turned out.
– What happened in the fourth set of the final match when you lost a five-point lead and the score became equal?
– We were leading in the long run, but all of a sudden there were several innings for the elimination and the score was evened: 16:16. We needed fresh energy. We made some nice blocks by finishing the game. Not much can be said about this, a difficult moment, the opponent added, but I am happy that we were able to close the match in four games. It would have been much harder otherwise. As I said, we blocked Zenit’s attack twice and finished the match in great style.
– What can you say about Dynamo captain Pavel Pankov, who won three “Most Valuable Player” awards during the season in all tournaments where the team participated and won?
– Pavel really showed a very high level throughout the season. He deserved to go to the Olympics this year. This is definitely an important goal for him. I wish him to get into the national team and experience these emotions. In addition, in my opinion, Tsvetan Sokolov also earned the most valuable player award in the Final Six. In every match he was our driving force, gaining an average of more than 20-25 points. He played great! We should be glad that he is part of our team.
– Why are you leaving Dynamo?
– It’s a sport, I can’t say more. I just won’t be on the team next season.