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Posts Tagged ‘Dinamo Bucharest’

Bad for Dinamo, but very good for the league

December 5, 2011 1 comment

Steaua was lucky in tonight’s derby, because if Rusescu wouldn’t have invented a long range shot to cancel Marius Niculae’s 13th goal of the season (last January, with 13 goals in half of seson, Bogdan Stancu was moving to Galatasaray for 6 mil. E!) Ilie Stan’s men would have struggled to get back into the game. They usually have trouble scoring and Dinamo was surprisingly solid at the back this year, mainly due to the good form of Cosmin Moti, who was once an AS Roma target, and the addition of Srdjan Luchin at right back. But at 1-1, with Pablo Brandan and Alexandru “Gattuso” Bourceanu pressing hard in central midfield, Steaua managed to increase the distance between Dinamo’s line, leaving Danciulescu and Niculae isolated upfront.

Liviu Ciobotariu wasn’t inspired either, taking off Marius Alexe at half time and adding a striker on the left side proving  suicidal for that flank, while Ilie Stan was going to be rewarded for understanding that Steaua needed a win, not a draw, and keeping an offensive setup until the very end.

Liga I standings, with one round to go before the winter break

It was a poor game, actually, as derbies often are in this country, Steaua failing to create a decent counter in almost half an hour, until Mihai Costea killed the match, but the result will definitely do the competition a lot of good. Dinamo has CFR and Rapid very close, with Steaua and Vaslui hoping to get back into the title race with a good run of results, so we could be in for a very interesting winter period as well. It’s been a while since we’ve had Dinamo, Rapid and Steaua in such good positions, but do not take anything for granted just yet – their owners/shareholders have the rare gift of screwing things up when they start to look good, reminding everybody that this is definitely not their “fault”…

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Gabriel Torje looks to have found his next club: Udinese!

August 21, 2011 2 comments

Gabriel Torje, a little winger with a big potential. Off he goes!

The news broke after Dinamo’s 2-0 win away at Sportul Studentesc, a game Gabriel Torje wasn’t able to finish, with the words “it’s not serious, felt suffocated” on his lips while taken off the pitch by Dinamo’s worried medical staff. The young international might have lost his breath while making yet another attempt to impress, but according to prosport.ro and gsp.ro Dinamo finally got a pleasing offer for the player, of 4 or 5 million Euros offered by Udinese. So, risking a physical punishment from the experienced Marius Niculae for playing mostly on his own, looking for goals, Torje might be lucky enough this time to dribble his way out of this, all the way to Italy.

It might look like an excellent deal for the Bucharest side, who also sold a couple of years ago Stefan Radu to Lazio, for 5,4 mil. E, but it’s not and the Red Dogs were right to invest in the little winger, but wrong to pay initially 2 mil. E to Politehnica Timisoara for only 50% of his transfer rights. With the other half bought for a similar amount and no trophies won while having the player in the team, they can only be proud to have offered Torje the chance to impress, which he obviously did.

Promoted by Gheorghe Hagi when he was still 16 and dubbed by Timisoara’s fans “Messi from Banat” (Banat is a region in the Western part of the country), Messi, sorry, Torje deserves credit for staying focused on the job, in spite of a couple of delicate moments, which usually happen to every young player that meets the Capital’s nightlife. He kept on improving as a player, getting better and better on and off the ball, which you could notice every once in while, in between the numerous episodes from the past year when he was annoyingly selfish.

Even so, his record isn’t bery impressing, with 19 goals and 23 assists in 129 matches played for Dinamo in all competitions. He also collected 9 caps in Romania’s senior and often pathetic national team, scoring once. Previously monitorred by Paris Saint Germain, Hamburg, Wolfsburg or Lille, he’s finally off and it’s hard to find a better club than Udinese in promoting such a young player. He might not turn into Messi, but if “I friulani” make him good enough to play alongside Messi, it should be good enough, right?

PS For any abuse that might follow if tomorrow morning it was just another false press report, please use the above mentioned websites. Thanks! 🙂

 

Europa League’s group stage: who’s going to make it?

August 18, 2011 Leave a comment

With five team knocking at the door this season and some average opposition in most of the cases, Romanian football hopes to grab this chance by the throat and try another good season in Europe, where it can still send directly into the group stage of the Champions League the champion club, even its name is Otelul Galati.

Steaua Bucharest – CSKA Sofia

The game will be played in Cluj, as Steaua has been forced to abandon their stadium in Bucharest and, in spite of playing tonight in front of a lot of fans, they will look once again as if they’re playing away from home. The two clubs fought all summer for the signature of Brazilian forward Ribeiro Moraes, who decided in the end to play for CSKA, while the Bulgarians’ main threat is considered Liga I’s top scorer from last season, Ianis Zicu.

Steaua will field a decent starting eleven, but Levy still has a lot of work to do to get this team going, as it badly misses creative players in midfield, but relies on two quick forwards, Tatu and Mihai Costea, to make the difference.

Slask Wroclaw – Rapid Bucharest

During the weekend, Rapid deployed a surprising 4-4-2 against newly promoted Petrolul, a match which they struggled to win (1-0, goals scored in the 87th minute), but this might have been part of a strategy to deceive the Polish club. Razvan Lucescu knows how to approach such games and he was there when Rapid managed the club’s best ever performance in an European competition. I expect a return to a 4-3-3 with Romeo Surdu and Ciprian Deac on the flanks, a midfield trio formed by Iulian Apostol, Dan Alexa and Ovidiu Herea, but the player that has impressed the most is Marcos Antonio, the rock solid Brazilian centre-back, who will certainly play a big part especially in this first leg.

Vorskla Poltava – Dinamo Bucharest

Dinamo hasn’t changed under Liviu Ciobotariu and, if this team stands a chance to get a result, than the attacking line must produce at least a couple of goals. It has worked so far, but the away game versus NK Varazdin could have gone wrong in a lot of delicate moments. Dinamo cannot use the promising Marius Alexe on the left wing – accused by fans that he’s not playing as good as he can since Chelsea added his name on what is probably a very long shortlist – and will move there the experienced Catalin Munteanu. It might be good for him, as Munteanu has an excellent service and the veteran Ionel Danciulesc plus Dinamo’s captain Marius Niculae could use some quality balls upfront. All eyes will be once again on the dynamic little right winger Gabriel Torje, who catches the eye, but could also “catch a black eye” if he keeps playing by himself every single time  he gets a pass in a good position.

FC Vaslui – Sparta Prague

Vaslui’s in a mess. They have finally scored, after four consecutive matches in which they had failed, but the win against newly promoted Concordia Chiajna has a cost: the Brazilian Adailton, who provided 3 assists in the 3-0 away success, is now injured and his name is added on a very long list. Team captain Wesley is suspended for this game, but coach Viorel Hizo has a depleated team, with central defenders Papp, Canu, Milanov and Gladstone injured, plus midfielders Pavlovic and Milisavljevic transfer listed and recently excluded from the team.

Austria Vienna – Gaz Metan Medias

Gaz Metan managed to survive in the double against Mainz, going through on penalties, but they will also face Austria Vienna against several first team players. In fact, Cristi Pustai has been forced to give up  the impressive trio of supporting players for the lone striker, as Parvulescu and Munteanu are out injured and Brazilian key attacking midfielder and prolific scorer Eric de Oliveira is on the verge of switching clubs before the transfer window closes. It will all come down to Gaz Metan’s ability to defend, which can look average at times, and their luck to score at least once in tonight’s encounter, when they should be more dangerous on set-plays than on counter-attacks.

Three players that could help Bucharest have its revenge

July 14, 2011 1 comment

After yet another poor year, the Capital clubs Dinamo, Steaua and Rapid have renewed their hopes of returning to greatness. Let’s take a look at three names that need to (finally) deliver, if the Bucharest big shots are to stand a chance against the always ambitious and recently better organized teams from the rest of country.

  • Name: Marius Niculae
  • Club: Dinamo Bucharest
  • Position: striker
  • Age: 30

The former Sporting Lisbon forward has failed to deliver since his return to Romania. He spent the second half of last season playing (and scoring) for Kavala – 4 goals in 12 appearances, in the Greek SuperLeague, but the club refused to make the deal permanent. Back in Bucharest, Niculae had to accept a wage cut and it will be interesting to see if he cares indeed for Dinamo or he’s just saying what the constantly decreasing number of fans love to hear.

With the best active scorer in Liga I by his side – Ionel Danciulescu, now 35 years old, scored a total of  193 goals in the Romanian top flight – and fueled by the most promising wingers in the country, Gabriel Torje and Marius Alexe, Niculae should deliver more goals than excuses in what promises to be another inconsistent season for the Red Dogs.

  • Name: Cristian Tanase
  • Club: Steaua Bucharest
  • Position: attacking midfielder
  • Age: 24

If Steaua wants to have a better season, a player like Tanase definitely needs to start looking like a genuine number 10. A right footed attacking midfielder who settled for a position on the left wing, the Romanian international has often drifted from inconsistent to simply useless, since his big, sorry, huge money move from FC Arges, three years ago. Numbers speak for themselves: one goal scored last season and a total of five in over 120 matches in Liga 1!

Predictable, lacking determination and the mentality (not the quality) to step up and act like the decisive player he was supposed to be, he fails to pose a threat with his shot, doesn’t get into scoring positions and simply cannot deliver quality balls in the last third.

With such a “discrete” no. 10, it’s no wonder Steaua struggled to fashion goalscoring chances and find the net even in the easiest of games. Now, under yet another coach, but involved in a playing style that should suit him even better, Tanase has the chance to prove a point. Otherwise this might just be his last season at the once great Bucharest club, although I get the feeling that the red and blue outfit has started to get used to the mediocrity of recent years

  • Name: Ciprian Deac
  • Club: Rapid Bucharest
  • Position: left winger
  • Age: 25

One of Felix Magath’s flops, Deac comes after a poor season with Schalke 04, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if the chance to take showers alongside the likes of Raul and Huntelaar has convinced the Romanian international that he’s among the greatest players alive. Presented by Magath as a number 10 – still amazed by that statement! – Deac will certainly have enough chances to redeem himself in the one year long loan deal. Razvan Lucescu used to play him in the national team even when he was severely lacking match fitness, but the blonde winger certainly has a tough job ahead. Rapid parted ways with the likes of Cesinha and Juliano Spadacio, two of the best left footed players this league has seen in recent year, and will find it hard to accept another year without a serious title challenge.

The red and white exodus

January 28, 2011 Leave a comment

The first half of season hasn’t been that bad for Dinamo, who lies just outside the places that guarantee a spot in Europa League, but the club was a mess. With less and less support from the fans, increasing financial problems, after the loss of three important shareholders, and a team that Ioan Andone was struggling to control, discipline and unite, the Red Dogs were barking, but not threatening to bite as hard as the other title challengers.

It was vital to act swiftly during the winter break and what the club did might sound suicidal, for the current season’s goals: 9 players were sent away, either on loan or for good, with the following considered regular starters and good enough, in theory, for any team in Liga I:

  • Juan Pablo Garat – 27, central defender, 10 games / 1 goal, released;
  • Ousmane N’Doye – 32, defensive midfielder, 13 games / 5 goals, sold to Astra Ploiesti;
  • Adrian Cristea – 27, playmaker, 17 games / 7 goals, sold to Universitatea Cluj;
  • Florin Bratu – 31, forward, 7 games / 2 goals (on loan to Levski), free transferred to Gaz Metan;
  • Andrei Cristea – 26, forward, 11 games / 4 goals, sold to Karlsruhe;
  • Marius Niculae – 29, striker, 16 games / 3 goals, loaned to Kavala (with buying option);

It only looks suicidal… First of all, because the title was an unrealistic target, given the distance that separates Dinamo from he current leaders, but mainly due to the high number and good quality of the other contenders, with Rapid, Poli Timisoara and FC Vaslui convinced that this is their season. Secondly, in spite of the names and the stats from above, the red and white outfit can still count on some of the finest attacking prospects in Romania, with the likes of Gabriel Torje, Marius Alexe and Liviu Ganea relishing the chance to feature on a regular basis and support the excellent player and professional that is Ionel Danciulescu. There will also be some relief among those responsible in delivering the wages, as the budget will suffer a serious cut and probably allow the entire team to start getting paid on time, on a regular basis.

The only thing Dinamo must do now is to use this month as a foundation for a strategy that has always delivered and keep on betting on young, ambitious players. But, with so much time left before the end of the winter mercato, the recent signing of a 31 years old from the bottom-placed team and the club’s willingness to test unknown foreign players, who are closer to their 30′ than their 20’s, we might be only witnessing Dinamo’s desperation to get rid of the high-earners and intention to buy some more time to prepare another one or two important sales…

The rise and fall of Marius Niculae

January 5, 2011 1 comment

Cristiano Ronaldo and Marius Niculae, back in 2001

Made his debut in Liga I when he was only 15, but already looked equipped to take on stronger opponents, thanks to his father, a former European Champion in judo, who took really good care of the young Niculae. The fact that Sensei Constantin was also a fitness coach with Dinamo also helped, but the young centre-forward soon repaid all the confidence with his constant development. Five years later, in the summer of 2001, he was on his way to Portugal, as Sporting Lisbon was impressed with the 20 years old who had finished the season as the league’s best scorer, with 20 goals. So impressed that they paid a total of 5.3 million Euros, a fee that included a 1.7 million Euros installment fee that should bring back some good memories to the Becali brothers and some of Dinamo’s shareholders…

Under the command of Laszlo Boloni, Niculae was surrounded by top players like Mario Jardel, Joao Pinto and Cristiano Ronaldo, but the fairytale ended a few months later when he suffered a nasty knee injury, which kept him on the sidelines for the rest of the season. The strong kid, who was ready to take on any opponent, never regained full fitness nor the bravery that had made him famous and – as a friend from the football world once told me – had raised his market value to 10 million Euros, an asking price available at that time for any interested club.

The centre-forward was going to leave Portugal on a free transfer, with a record of 14 goals in 59 appearances, and rejoin Boloni, with the coach willing to offer him a second chance, but unable to save a career that was going to register another two free transfers, to Mainz and Inverness, in the following years. A season high of eight goals in the Scottish top flight finally determined a club to pay something for the player’s services. It was his first club, Dinamo, who came up with half of million pounds and the same old plan. He was going to be the leader of the team, he was going to have all the support to score goals in double figures – Dinamo is an expert in “polishing” players for expensive exports – and he was supposed to help the club at least make some profit, if achieving sporting success is something that the red and white club fails to do for years. Unfortunately for him and Dinamo, the 12 goals scored in 2008/1009 were followed by one and a half seasons of mediocre football and a string of rumors that linked him to exotic destinations. One in particular looked interesting, but Boloni failed to convince Al Wahda to pay one million Euros for a front man who scored 7 goals in his last 36 matches, as part of probably the most offensive team from Liga I.

This winter found the player in a mess. With half of this season’s matches started on the bench and a wage that’s a problem for the club, Niculae is again ready to go. To China, on a free transfer, obviously, where Beijing Guoan are ready to pay 30.000 Euros/month until his next move. Which could be hanging up the boots, unless someone comes to his rescue. The Romanian press immediately thought of the same old Boloni, who just signed for Lens, but Niculae, now 29, is too old to be still living in the world of dream-moves and way too far from his best form to think that he could swap Liga I for Ligue 1. He should be more concerned about saving money rather than hopeful of saving his career…

Dinamo releases the Argentinian Juan Pablo Garat

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

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.

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