Italian star Simone Buti, one of the focal points of a diminished Italian side for this summer’s World League, has signed a contract to join Gi Groupa Monza for the 2018-2018 season. That means he’s leaving Sir Safety Perugia Sicoma, who last seasons were the runners-up of the European Champions league. He will join his former Sir Safety teammate Thomas Beretta, in his 3rd season with the team, in bolstering Monza’s middle for next year.
The 33-year old Buti is the captain of Italy’s team for the World League and will earn his 128th international cap on Friday when the Italians play host to Iran in their Group 1 opener – more than any other player on this summer’s roster. He stands 206cm (6’9″) tall, hits at 346cm (136″), and blocks at 328cm (129″). Buti has been a member of Italy’s National Team since 2010, which includes a silver medal at last year’s Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2014 World League. He wasn’t on the 2013 World League team that also took bronze a year earlier.
Beretta, who has made National Team appearances for Italy but isn’t on this summer’s World League roster. At 205cm (6’8″) tall, he’s just shorter than Buti, but still ranked 10th among Serie A middles last season with 169 points.
Buti, meanwhile, averaged 1.9 points per set last season, but played in only 50 of those for Sir Safety. He averaged .48 blocks per set, which will be crucial to his new team as his arrival signals the departure of Belgian blocker Pieter Verhees. Verhees was 4th among all middles in the Italian league last season with 209 points, including .56 blocks-per-set. Verhees has announced via Twitter that he will join Vibo Valentina.
Monza finished last season just 7th in the regular season standings in Serie A – one spot below Vibo Valentina. Both teams were eliminated via 2-0 sweeps in the opening round of the playoffs. Monza has not finished in the top 2 of the league since the team was formed and re-formed at the beginning of this decade.