Wilfredo Leon is widely considered to be volleyball’s best active player. At only 24 years of age, he is the sport’s highest paid star, and now finds himself as an unprecedented volleyball commodity, being the envy of teams all around the world.
Wise beyond his young years, Leon gave an interview to Cuban “Playoff” magazine, talking about, among other topics, the importance of family, fatherhood, the status of Cuban volleyball, and his plans for the future. We have organized below an excerpt with highlights from the interview. To read the full transcript, click here to be redirected to the magazine’s website.
In 2019 a new door will open and you will have the chance to play for another national team (Poland). How do you deal with the divided opinion of the people from Poland, since some want you to play for the team and others do not?
From what I see and hear, among the volleyball fans in Poland, the vast majority are in favor of me playing in the national team. I hope that some of those who are against it change their opinion after seeing how I will dedicate myself to represent my new team.
Seeing Osmany Juantorena, Yoandy Leal, Robertlandy Simón and you in the 2017 FIVB WCH Dream Team poses a great contradiction for Cuba: we have a team of real stars, but we play with a selection of rookies. Would you have liked to play again with any of them in the national team? If so, what can you say about a possible reincorporation?
I do not want to think what it would be like if all those players had not left the Cuban team. No one knows where each one of us would be now. The situation is as it is, there is no reason to look for other scenarios.
It is commented that, until today, nobody called you to play for Cuba again: is that true?
I do not know what to answer to this question. I’m not thinking about these matters, it’s been a long time.
What will happen when it is time to face Cuba in an international competition?
When it is time to play against Cuba, I will go to the field and try to play my role as good as possible, but of course the feeling will be different than when playing against other countries.
You are today in volleyball, what Messi or Cristiano is in football, or LeBron James in basketball. Have you ever thought about the dimension you have achieved within your specialty?
I do not feel it in my daily life. When someone tells me that they like my game, I feel happy, but at the same time it gives me more motivation to work because I know I can play even better. I do not follow the rankings of best players according to journalists, because that is not my goal. My job is to give the best of me to the team and fight for the victories.
What do you think it takes to be the best player in the world?
Even with talent, the most important thing is hard work and a good head. You have to know what needs to be improved and work hard to achieve it. I still have to work hard in some aspects, I’m not perfect in my game.
What are your future plans for this second part of the season?
Win everything, as in recent years.