- 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.
With Cristian Chivu, Razvan Rat and Stefan Radu out injured, Razvan Lucescu offered Gabriel Tamas (transferred in January to West Bromwich Albion) the chance to reclaim his spot in the team. Another surprise is the absence of the first two choices for the goalkeeper postion, Lobont and Coman, but, looking at the likes of Gaman, Sepsi, Florescu or Deac, it’s obvious that the National Team coach is trying to evaluate some of the promising, yet established players in the first division. Here’s is the full list of players:
- Goalkeepers: Mircea Bornescu (Rapid, 29), Costel Pantilimon (FC Timisoara, 23)
- Defenders: Cristian Panin (CFR Cluj, 31), Vasile Maftei (Unirea Urziceni, 29), Gabriel Tamas (WBA, 26), Dorin Goian (Palermo, 29), Mirel Radoi (Al-Hilal, 28), Valerica Gaman (Universitatea Craiova, 21), Laszlo Sepsi (FC Timisoara, 23), Mihai Nesu (FC Utrecht, 27)
- Midfielders: Banel Nicolita (Steaua, 25), Mihai Roman (FC Brasov, 25), Iulian Apostol (Unirea Urziceni, 29), Paul Codrea (Siena, 28), Tiberiu Ghioane (Dynamo Kiew, 28), George Florescu (FC Midjtyland, 25), Ciprian Deac (CFR Cluj, 24)
- Forwards: Gigel Bucur (Kuban, 29), Andrei Cristea (Dinamo Bucharest, 25), Ciprian Marica (VFB Stuttgart, 24), Daniel Niculae (Auxerre, 27), Marius Niculae (Dinamo Bucharest, 28).
Update: Lucescu decided that the third keeper will be Steaua’s Ciprian Tatarusanu (22), while the injured Iulian Apostol has been replaced by his colleague from Unirea Razvan Paduretu (28).