Position last season: 3rd place
Looking back at the club’s yet another tormented season, you could say it didn’t end too bad after all. As expected, Ilie Stan couldn’t finish the campaign and the very experienced and too humble Mihai Stoichita took charge towards the end, with the team showing glimpses of what could be done if everyone would mind his business. Last winter, some quality Romanian players were added to the roster, investments that could pay dividends this year, with the likes of Vlad Chiriches and Alexandru Chipciu already settled, but is it wise to predict that everything will go smoothly under the ownership of Gigi Becali – in spite of all the efforts of Mihai Stoica to protect the team?
Important transfers out: Geraldo Alves (central defender, key player)
I can’t understand how a player like Bruno Alves’ brother, experienced, solid & professional, can be released without a second thought. He played some excellent games in central defense & gave his best in other positions, when the team was in need, and – mark my words – he will be missed this season, when Steaua has decided to promote so obvious the pair Chiriches – Florin Gardos that simply forgot to take into account suspensions or, worse, long term injuries. Alongside Geraldo, the Bulgarian Valentin Iliev – who also provided good cover, making a couple of great matches along the way – was also released and Steaua signed an injured Doru Bratu, from Concordia Chiajna…
- RICARDO CADU – CFR Cluj
- GEORGE GALAMAZ – Unirea Urziceni
- Mihai Pintilii – International Curtea de Arges
- Octavian Abrudan – FC Brasov
- Sergiu Costin – Otelul Galati
My view: The top two teams in the league offer the top two centre-backs in this analysis, which is fair, given the fact that in Romania destroying the opposition’s game is the main task of most of the clubs. Cadu‘s main asset is the leadership and the abilty to step up and deliver in the most crucial moments, while Galamaz is, for two years now, the most consistent Romanian centre-back, a very commanding presence indeed and a player that has kept on working and improving. International’s Pintilii is a nice surprise – it’s his first season in Liga I – and I remember him being offered to Steaua two or three years ago ;-).
My choices: Just missing out on the top five is another International defender, Vlad Chiriches, who I consider to have a nice future ahead of him and I dare to put him in line with Universitatea Craiova’s highly rated Valerica Gaman. Sarghi from Otelul and Papp from FC Vaslui are two other interesting Romanian defenders, so we can say that at least in this area we do have some players coming from behind.
Note: the top five is taken from Gazeta Sporturilor, a newspaper that uses the service of Digital Soccer Project. These results are based on a series of specific criteria for each position, include only players that have collected at least 1.200 minutes on the pitch in the past season and the only subjective part of the analysis consists in the average marks received by the newspaper’s writers.