FCM Resita – Universitatea Craiova – Ajax Amsterdam – AS Roma – Inter Milano. What’s next for Cristi Chivu, currently out of contract with Inter and caught between staying on a lower wage in Milano or moving away for a last, big deal. He’s 31 and never looked desperate to switch clubs, probably that’s why he’s still negotiating with the team he served since 2007. The injury to his head – which was probably decisive in his decision to retire from a national team that got him more criticism than praise in recent years – has also contributed to an even safer approach and I never trusted the rumor that he would leave Inter for Napoli. But now Galatasaray is on the cards and he is definitely considering it, although Turkish fans can suffocate you with their love, imagine what is on the cards, if things were to go the wrong way…
So, either a serious wage cut and a backup role in Stramaccioni’s Inter (totally deserved, for his below par performances in the last couple of seasons) or a salary and a contract length closer to his demands from Galatasaray, a club which offered the perfect, well deserved career-ending for two of Romania’s greatest players, Gica Hagi and Gica Popescu. A quiet life in Milano, where his family feels at home or a move to the passionate Istanbul, which would challenge not only him as a player, but also his family?
Chivu’s choice was already difficult, but Hagi stepped in and, after the 31 years old had a first talk with Fatih Terim, accepted to work as link between the player and the club he loves. Asked by The Emperor to help him “get to know Chivu as a person”, Hagi most likely had the nicest words about one of the best educated and well-behaved Romanian (and not only) footballers of the last decade: a family man, with a very quiet life, which unfortunately didn’t spare him from a serious a injuries that usually haunt a different type of players, who look to enjoy every minute spent far from the pitch.
But Hagi he also had a chat with the player and recently explained the way he sees things: “At 31, you need to feel that you’re still very important and he doesn’t have that anymore at Inter. I’ve spoken with Terim and Galatasaray would definitely need a defender like Chivu. The club’s interest in him is obvious.”
In my opinion, this would have had “done deal” written all over it since the first day Terim spoke with Ioan Becali, the player’s agent who easily finds a way to arrange things with Galatasaray, if it wasn’t for Chivu’s hope to continue with Inter. He obviously doesn’t want to do it for a too low salary given his age, but money isn’t enough to tempt him easily to Istanbul. This game of nerves could soon be over though, as Inter doesn’t want to move an inch above the offered contract and Gala worked even harder to persuade the player, pulling more strings and throwing on the table Hagi “The King”, a card that could value as the ace up Terim’s sleeve, just like in the good old days…
Dario Bonetti’s first game in charge wasn’t great. Dinamo lost against Gaz Metan Medias and the last 10 minutes were really difficult, as the home side managed to make it 2-1 and needed one more goal to overturn the 0-1 defeat suffered in the first leg.
The Italian decided to make small adjustments to the 4-4-2 that had failed to deliver under Liviu Ciobotariu, after some impressive displays and results in the first half of season. First of all, he added a second defensive midfielder, Dorel Stoica, who did three good things: 1. protected the back four well enough even if he didn’t look in top physical shape (both goals came from set plays); 2. allowed Djakaridja Kone to act higher up the pitch and use his energy and muscle to block the opposition’s build-up strategy earlier than usual; 3. scored Dinamo’s only goal, decisive for the step to the final. This lead to the usual playmaker, Catalin Munteanu, who also suffered an obvious dip in form, to move on the left wing, where he found more space and time to dwell on the ball and look for options, as well as send some quality crosses – something nobody else does at the moment for Dinamo.
The most important move made by Bonetti was the use of Marius Alexe in a different position, who moved from left midfielder to second striker – a role that (in my opinion too) suits him better, making him less predictable in movement and allowing him to get more scoring opportunities.
Even though it had little effect in last night’s game, this decision can have major implications not just for the young player who has been in disappointing form in the season he was supposed to prove himself too good for Liga I and ready to move abroad, but also for the team. If he will keep on playing there, there will be little to no space for Ionel Danciulescu, the veteran striker who is the club’s second scorer this term and the active player with the highest number of goals scored in the Romanian first division. This isn’t a surprise, as Danciulescu, who has scored over 200 goals in his Liga I career, had been forced by the same Italian coach to leave Dinamo a few years ago and move to Hercules Alicante, in the Spanish second division, a club he has helped at that time to gain promotion in La Liga.
You can find below the captain’s goodbye note, but I find very interesting some comments made by some Romanians involved in the game.
Ioan Sdrobis, one of Chivu’s first coaches: “He just proved that he’s not a man. He left the battlefield, in the middle of the war – he could have done this after the games versus Bosnia.”
Ioan Becali, Chivu’s agent: “I had no idea, but in the end we have to respect his choice. I think that his wife Adelina talked him into this.”
Gheorghe Hagi, legend: “He was an outstanding player for the national team and we have to be proud of what he did for Romania. I’ve known him as a person and as a player and I say with all my heart that he has my outmost respect.”
Not hard to tell the difference between a bitter old man, a greedy agent and someone who knows what’s it all about, right?
Garat should be happy to move as far away from Dinamo as possible. He should forget the promising start of the season. The deserved praise for some promising performances and the beginning of a solid partnership with Cosmin Moti, the centre-back who may have returned from Seria A two years ago, but failed to return to form. The scoring ability discovered only after his move to Liga I. He will keep in mind though that, if you’re willing to make a career in Romania, there are a few guys out there who control everything, even if they’re not officially involved in the game anymore. One of them is former FIFA agent Ioan Becali, who once criticized the Argentinian centre-back more for the fact that he signed with Dinamo without going through him rather than for the quality of his performances. Garat replied by asking “Giovani” to keep quiet and stop talking about him and may have laughed in disbelief when he received a text message saying that he’ll never get to play for Dinamo again.
Today, the Red Dogs announce that they have released Juan Pablo Garat, considering that he failed to adjust to Liga I due to several medical problems, after 13 matches for the club and 2 goals. Of course, the decision has nothing to do with Becali’s threat. Garat did get to play two more games for Dinamo, after that episode. 15 minutes in the 11th round and 10 more minutes in the 16th round.
It could have been a wonderful start, with Belarus defeating France and Romania sweating working as a unit for a 1-0 win against Albania, but yet another stupid goal from a set-play encouraged everyone to speak up and against the current coach, his poor selection and the mediocrity of the current generation of players. Everyone but the players under Razvan Lucescu, represented with bitterness and his usual class by the team’s captain, a certain Cristian Chivu. The Internazionale defender… defended the young coach – “who prepares games like no one else I’ve seen at the national team” – in front of the press and from attacks that have been launched by the (in)famous agents Ioan and Victor Becali. It’s an oustdanding gesture, knowing that he’s related to the Becalis through contracts and even religious matters, as Victor is his child’s godfather, but one that probably has been forgotten already, as the media’s busy promoting two of the names ready to take over from Lucescu Jr., in case of a poor result in Belarus: Gheorghe Hagi and Laszlo Boloni. In the background, the lobby for Adrian Mutu’s return to the national team becomes more and more obvious and it’s no surprise, given the fact that the player’s ban determined the Becali’s to go for Lucescu’s jugular. Read more…
- Steaua seems to have agreed to sign three players, but only one deal has some sort of confirmation so far: the Bulgarian centre-back Zhivko Zhelev agreed to a 10.000 EUR/month contract and will leave his current club, Otelul Galati. In exchange, Steaua will send to Galati the talented left midfielder Razvan Ochirosii (who was “snatched” from the same club by Mihai Stoica, now at Unirea Urziceni), one of the hottest prospects a few years ago, but who never made it among the seniors at Steaua. Otelul gets rid of a problem and also gets 50% of a talented 20 years old. Good deal!
- The other two Steaua targets: Bulgarian striker Hristo Yovov and Rwanda central defender Edwin Ouon.
- Adrian Cristea (attacking midfielder, Dinamo, 26 years old) has been offered to Kuban Krasnodar for 1 mil. EUR. This is no surprise, as Dan Petrescu, the new manager, has been given complete control over transfers and already announced that will try to sign 5 or 6 Romanian players. Cristea is definitely among the most talented, but has an atitude problem and is a gamble Petrescu won’t make. Same situation with Ianis Zicu (attacking midfielder, Dinamo, 26 years old), although Petrescu already tried to sign him when he was coaching Unirea Urziceni, so has better chances. Anyway, it’s going to be a very good month for agents Victor and Ioan “Giovani” Becali ;-).
- Vladimir Bozovic (left back/left midfielder, Rapid, 28 years old) is a target for a French first division outfit, according to his agent, Zvonko Milojkovic. Rapid is in deep financial trouble and owner George Copos has been trying to sell the club (the German businessman Lutz Stache was the last person interested in such a deal), so raising money from transfers looks like the only option right now. Rapid paid 200.000 for his transfer from OFK Belgrade in 2007, but won’t settle for anything below 1 mil. EUR.
- In case Gigel Bucur (striker, FC Timisoara, 29 years old) leaves to club – an offer from Kuban is expected – the Viola outfit will try to sign the Argentinian Pablo Osvaldo Vazquez (centre forward, Strongest, 27 years old).
- The talented Gheorghe Grozav (forward, Unirea Alba Iulia, 19 years old) is very close to a deal with Standard Liege, where he went on trial last summer and left a good impression. The transfer fee: 300.000 EUR