Archive for June, 2010

Lacina Traore refuses to stay for one more year in Cluj

June 29, 2010 1 comment

Lacina Traore, 20 years old

Definitely the most wanted player from Liga I, the Ivorian forward, who just missed out on the trip to South Africa, returned to Cluj determined to part ways with CFR. His statements are the opposite of what has been served to the media a week ago by club president Iuliu Muresan, who said that Traore won’t leave Cluj, in spite of the incredible competition for a place in the first eleven, following to the arrival of Sasha Bjelanovic, and the public interest from several clubs, including Arsenal, Napoli, Hamburg, Udinese, Gatalasaray or Rennes.

“I don’t want to stay for another year, even if I’ll get the chance to play Champions League football, I want to leave, I’m not going to spend all my life here”, said the 19 years old, who scored just six goals last season and had a rather mediocre campaign. His price tag is around 4 million Euros, a sum CFR was hoping to double in autumn, when the champions will be playing in the champions’ competition.

This is not a joke: Materazzi to FC Brasov!

June 28, 2010 1 comment

It’s rather a sign that Giuseppe is a proud man, who doesn’t want to ask his son, Marco, for some cash, when he needs it. Sorry for the strange and maybe offending opening line (ok, and for the deceiving title as well!), I hope Marco won’t kick me with his chest in the head, but the guy that made the connection between FC Brasov and the experienced Italian coach must have taken a lot of money to convince Materazzi senior to come to Romania. Not to mention that the former coach of Lazio or Sporting Lisbon (he also trained a number of mediocre/unknown squads lately) has been challenged to qualify for a place in Europe right away. I’ll explain everything:

FC Brasov parted ways with 17 (seventeen) players this summer, 5 regular starters went to Rapid, 1 to Steaua, 1 to Dinamo, 1 to CFR, 1 retired, all the good guys that missed out on Europa League in the past to seasons are gone. The team can count now on two defenders, one midfielder and two strikers who have at least some experience in Liga I, and I consider this team the first relegation candidate for next season. Which, by the way, starts in less than a month. So this should better be a nice practical joke, staged by FC Brasov’s official website and the top newspapers in the country!

Steaua meets Real Madrid in August. From Mourinho, with love…

June 26, 2010 Leave a comment

“Mourinho will bring Real Madrid to play against the Becali family”. We can agree that reading such a statement without laughing is impossible, but it was followed by Steaua’s official request to have a game postponed in August and Ioan Becali’s (the agent – cousin of the guy who had made that statement) confirmation that the match will take place on August 22. The joke could be on us, really, even if, in spite of a very big family, the Becalis will field against Mourinho’s stars Steaua’s finest players. And we should not ignore the generous discount offered by The Special One, who apparently used his influence to reducd Real’s demands from 1,5 million Euros to just half of milion. A true friend, Mou, what can I say?

The offers that cannot be refused

June 26, 2010 2 comments

Ovidiu Petre, 28 years old

Steaua’s anchorman Ovidiu Petre left Romania today, after agreeing a move to Al Nasr, where he’ll team up with another national team player, Razvan Cocis. Both were demanded by Walter Zenga, who said in a recent interview that he would definitely enjoy coaching Romania in the future. So, when Petre speaks about an offer he couldn’t have refused, should we think at least for just a couple of seconds that he makes this move thinking about the future, not the money? I’m not that bad for a PR job, right? And I’m also cheap, Ovidiu!

Peralta is a free player. Or not

June 26, 2010 Leave a comment

CFR left for the first training camp of the summer, leaving behind some interesting names, who aren’t part of Mandorlini’s plans for the coming season. The central midfielder Sixto Peralta tops this list, a player who gets 375.000 Euros per year and thinks that his deal will expire in June 2011. CFR’s board thinks otherwise, stating that this summer they had the option to extend the deal for one more year and refused to do it. Anyway, looking at CFR’s lack of creative players in midfield it’s possible that Mandorlini could be really happy to see the former Inter Milano player still at the club, when he returns to Romania…
On the black list and looking at least for a good destination to spend a year on loan are Rade Veljovic, Ousmane Viera, Vitinha, Dario Flores and Diego Ruiz, all good players by Liga I standards, with centre back Viera showing also some potential to develop in the near future.

Steaua, not impressed by “The new Dzeko”

June 26, 2010 Leave a comment

One training session was enough for Victor Piturca to consider the skills and potential of Adin Dzafic not good enough for Steaua. The player’s catchy nickname, the decent scoring record at Velez Mostar (13 goals in 27 matches), the best performances on DVD, the player’s role in Bosnia’s U21, all this offered him the chance to train just once in Steaua’s outfit. Let’s face it, things are going well for the boy, who was also watched three times by Unirea Urziceni earlier this year, but couldn’t convince them to make a move…

CFR Cluj gets Bjelanovic, the under one million euros baby!

June 24, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s official, Vicenza’s centre-forward will play Champions League football and earn a decent salary: 350.000 Euros per season. Demanded and convinced by Mandorlini, “Grande Sasa” agreed to a two years long contract, with the option to extend the deal for one more year and forced CFR to pay an important fee for a 31 years old: 950.000 Euros. Which means that CFR wants results in the near future, but also that one of the following guys – Yssouf Kone, Lacina Traore, Cristian Bud – has already packed his bags.

My bet is on Kone, who played way below his ability in the previous season, has a similar wage with Bjelanovic – huge, by Romanian standards! – and entered the last year of his contract, lacking any interest from other clubs. So, if Kone gives up the remaining salary, he’ll probably be allowed to move on a free transfer, which won’t happen with Traore (too expensive for what he can offer right now) or Bud (wanted by FC Bruges, but not desperately enough to meet a 2 million Euros asking price!).

Best players in Romania: forwards

June 24, 2010 3 comments
  1. Wesley Lopes da Silva, 30 years old

    ANDREI CRISTEA – Dinamo Bucharest

  3. Pantelis Kapetanos – Steaua Bucharest
  4. Gheorghe Bucur – FC Timisoara
  5. Junior Moraes – Gloria Bistrita

My view: Wesley couldn’t have missed this one, he had a solid season and deserves credit for acting very mature during a winter conflict with the club’s owner, which ended in his favor. Cristea was THE Romanian forward, that’s for sure, although I’m sure he’d be useless without a good centre forward alongside him. Obviously, he doesn’t think so, as he became blinded by the opportunity to snatch the golden boot award and looked very selfish and ugly in the last couple of months, an approach that will turn against him next season, if he doesn’t leave Dinamo.

Leaving aside Kapetanos, the only striker who needs to concentrate on his World Cup performances, it’s interesting to see up there two strikers that have played for just half of season, Bucur leaving Timisoara for Krasnodar during the winter, while Moraes came to Bistrita in February, but made an instant and huge impact. Just outside the top five is Urziceni’s Bilasco, a player with an excellent aerial game for his 1,84 m, while CFR’s “stars”, Kone and Traore are waaay down, very close to the ratings received by Pandurii’s strikers, Raskovic and Stromajer, famous for their lack of ability and flair.

My choices: I liked a lot Moraes, as well, but I think CFR’s Bud deserves to be recalled for the way he stepped up and delivered. Dinamo’s Liviu Ganea had a nice run with Astra, where he spent the season on loan, but he ruined all his work with his decision to “shut down” and “preserve” his goals for a better cause than saving Astra from relegation. I have serious doubts regarding his mentality and I think that the gifts he has were delievered by nature to the wrong type of person. Timisoara has a really quality player in Dorin Goga, who’s creative and skilful, but the player and the team would have got so much more out of this season, if Magera was used up-front on a regular basis. In the end, I’ll add Rusescu, a youngster I enjoy watching for three seasons now, but who I’d expected to see get more and more time on the pitch…

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.

Sliskovic, ready for another adventure?

June 23, 2010 1 comment

Blaz Sliskovic. Photo by

Arrived in Romania in March, when nothing but a miracle could have saved Unirea Alba Iulia from relegation, Blaz Sliskovic impressed with his determination, confidence and, above all, courage, attributes that put him now in the position to negotiate a new start in Liga I. The coach is expected to hold talks today with Ioan Neculaie, the owner of FC Brasov, and I see him “crazy” enough to take over a team that is in a very delicate moment. A very club team in the past few seasons, FC Brasov lost this summer its influential president, Dinu Gheorghe, and almost the entire squad. The top full-backs Rui Duarte and Ezequias are off to Rapid, the centre backs Abrudan (Steaua) and Nuno Diogo (CFR Cluj) have also left, the experienced midfielders Catalin Munteanu (transferred to Dinamo), Nicolae Grigore (returns to Rapid) and Maldarasanu (retired) are gone and away from Brasov are hoping to move the excellent winger Mihai Roman, the promising forward Sabrin Sburlea and top goalkeeper Danut Coman!

Basically, Sliskovic would have to rebuild the entire first team from scratch, which will be very difficult, as I don’t see Neculaie, who often complained about the lack of support in financing the team, reinvesting more than a couple of hundred thousand euros from the millions he got this summer. Not to mention that he would have just one month to find the players that could ensure salvation (I cannot see any other realistic goal for the coming season) and make them gel. But the man believes in miracles, he proved that already, and I’d like to see him have a full season ahead, with his courageous approach, fighting with all those guys who think that, if they field 8 defenders in the first eleven, their jobs would be better protected…

Best players in Romania: central attacking midfielders

June 21, 2010 1 comment
  1. JULIANO SPADACIO – Rapid Bucharest
  2. Lucian Sanmartean – FC Vaslui
  3. Sixto Peralta – CFR Cluj
  4. Eric de Oliveira – Gaz Metan Medias
  5. Ovidiu Vezan – International Curtea de Arges

My view: Well, if Spadacio wins this after the worst season since his arrival to Rapid, it means that the guy is way too good for this league, but not good enough for a better one, given the lack of offers from Europe this summer… Anyway, let’s just say that Sanmartean made a nice comeback in Liga I, but he still looks like he wouldn’t like to give too much on the pitch – he probably waits to turn 34, 35. If Lopez Caro wants to win something next season, well, he should try and make this guy give it all for FC Vaslui. I wouldn’t have included here Peralta, as he’s more of a number 8 than a number 10, while Vezan is the absolute surprise. Should I add that, in spite of this “achievement”, the guy has just been released on a free transfer by International Pitesti? Thumbs up, though, for Florin Dan, an experienced player who gave it all to save Unirea Alba Iulia, who just missed out on this Top 5.

My choices: Well, to say Radut, now, after Steaua got his signature and he made his debut among the seniors in the National Team doesn’t make me much of an observer, right? But, looking through the list of players taken into consideration, there isn’t another young&promising attacking midfielder out there. And that’s quite sad. And scary!

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.

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