Many water polo stars retired from their national teams after the Olympic Games. Six Serbian aces were among them
Besides players, a respectable Serbian water polo journalist became a pensioner. Dejan Stevovic, who worked for more than 40 years for Sport, Sportske Novosti, and Sportski Zurnal, retired this summer. He covered practically every competition in which the Serbian (and earlier Yugoslavian) national team competed in the past two decades.
Despite his retirement, he will continue to work as a journalist and the Serbian national team’s press attaché, and he may publish new water polo books. He was a co-author of a monograph about 100 years of water polo in Serbia earlier this year.
Here are his TOP 5 pick for both categories
1. Maddie Musselman (USA)
US National Player | Club: UCLA | Position: Left DriverShe was, in my opinion, the greatest of the best in Tokyo. Despite her youth, she displayed exceptional maturity in the most crucial moments.
2. Simone van der Kraast (HUN)
Dutch National Player | Clubs: CN Mataro | Position: Right DriverBest scorer of the Olympic tournament at only 21. Very bright future in front of this young Dutch player
3. Anni Espar (ESP)
Spanish National Player | Clubs: CN Mataro | Position: Right DriverShe has been the creme de la creme in women's water polo for years. She demonstrated her ability once more in Tokyo, as she led Spain to a silver medal.
4. Ashleigh Johnson (USA)
US National Player | Clubs: Ethnikos | Position: GoalkeeperShe once again demonstrated how essential she is to the USA squad. Without a question, the best goalkeeper on the planet.
5. Rebecca Parkes (HUN)
Hungarian National Player | Clubs: Ethnikos | Position: Center ForwardSmart and very strong center forward. She opens a lot opportunities for her teammates and she did a great job to finally bring the women’s Olympic medal to Hungary
1. Dusan Mandic (SRB)
Serbian National Player | Clubs: Pro Recco, Novi Beograd | Position: Right DriverHe was excellent in his farewell games in Pro Recco, won the Champions League, and deserved a trophy for the MVP of the Final Eight. At the Olympic Games, he took responsibility when it mattered most - in the most important games. Mandic significantly contributed to winning the gold medal.
2. Filip Filipovic (SRB)
Serbian National Player | Clubs: Szolnok / Olympiacos | Position: Right DriverHe was named the MVP of the Olympic water polo tournament for the second time—a true leader and captain. Filipovic won the LEN Euro Cup with Szolnok and was the best player in the final matches. His determination and self-confidence are impressive.
3. Nikola Jaksic (SRB)
Serbian National Player | Clubs: FTC, Novi Beograd | Position: Center BackHe had a great season in Ferencvaros and performed admirably at the Olympic Games. He is capable of playing every position in the team. In the upcoming years, he will leave a strong mark in the world's water polo.
4. Krisztian Manhercz (HUN)
Hungarian National Player | Clubs: OSC | Position: DriverHe played a leading role in the most important games of the Hungarian national team. If nothing else, the outstanding performance and seven goals from eight attempts in the match against Croatia in the Olympic quarterfinals marked his entire season.
5. Dusko Pijetlovic (SRB)
Serbian National Player | Clubs: Szolnok, Novi Beograd | Position: Center ForwardHe is maybe the best center-forward in the world, although he is 36-year-old. At his last competition for the national team in Tokyo, he played as he did in his greatest days, allowing the second center-forward and debutant Lazic to play relieved. He is excellent at two meters but also in outside playing positions. Even today, he is a player for all roles in the team.
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