It’s not news anymore, but it’s another interesting story, which says a lot about the game in Romania and the struggle to behave like professionals. Rui Duarte arrived in Romania from Estrela Amadora back in 2008, when, thanks to CFR’s rise, it was not just trendy to buy players from the Portuguese market, but also the almost guaranteed way of adding quality to the roster, without spending a lot of money. It was cheaper to buy from a mid-table team playing in Liga Sagres than from a newly promoted squad in Liga I or even a second division club, the lack of common sense and realism when it comes to discussing a transfer fee being still an issue in Romanian football.
For less than half a million Euros, FC Brasov managed to buy the player that went on to establish himself as the best right back in the league, an award claimed on a regular basis, year after year, and the move to one of the Bucharest clubs made perfect sense, from this point of view. Those who like to look at football as a business, where players are getting paid to work like almost any other professional out there, have always looked at Rui Duarte from a different perspective, though. The Portuguese full-back had developped a habit of returning late for almost any holiday, but this was overlooked, as FC Brasov was considered a mediocre team, with no quality backup solution to take a stand against this practice, and, for some reason, Rui Duarte would have stopped acting like an amateur once he had made a move to a truly professional club. Like Rapid? Neah, it doesn’t fit the profile, although we’re talking about a title challenger. Rapid is 11 (eleven) days away from the first official game of 2011 and what does the board do? Organize a trip to Portugal, to convince Rui Duarte to return to the club! After missing the entire winter preparation, he is kindly asked to come back and make every single team-mate look like an idiot, for wearing themselves out for two months, to secure a place in the first eleven. Something Rui Duarte doesn’t have to do not because he’s an excellent player – by the way, he’s not! -, but because he got some interesting results to the repeated tests conducted on the guys allowed to run first division clubs, either as board members or as part of the technical staff. They are always ready to make a compromise, yet never understand why the lack of professionalism is such a common disease even at Liga I players, either homegrown or signed from abroad. The thought that it might be actually their fault probably never crossed their rested minds…
VASILE MAFTEI – Unirea Urziceni
- Rui Duarte – FC Brasov
- Eder Bonfim – FC Timisoara
- Florin Popete – Pandurii Targu Jiu
- Anthony da Silva “Tony” – CFR Cluj
My view: Excellent example for Romania’s lack of options at right back in the national team, with a winner who has been playing as a centre-back until two years ago and the only other Romanian in the top five – a below average 32 years old like Popete, who relegated with Pandurii at the end of the season. In such a mediocre company – Tony could have done more, but has rarely played for CFR, while Dananae from Universitatea Craiova was out for a long, long time, after a severe injury -, Maftei fully deserves to take this.
My choices: I’m honestly surprised to see FC Vaslui’s Milanov missing the top five (affected by Gazeta’s marks and the bonus system that involves the team’s performances, not just the player’s), who has been very consistent, has adjusted immediately after his transfer and was as impressive on the right, as he was on the opposite flank. Rapid had two good right backs, Helder and Sapunaru (why in the world was this guy left out from the national team?), I would have liked to see more Craiova’s Barboianu on this position, as he was used too much as a defensive midfielder, but everyone’s mad this summer about Otelul’s Cornel Rapa.
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.
- Claudinei Alexandre Aparecido Nei (29) looks set to join newly promoted Unirea Alba Iulia, on a loan deal, until the end of the season. The Brazilian forward never looked good enough for CFR or any other team fighting for the title and, in case the deal will be finalized, he’ll meet in Alba Iulia three former colleagues from Cluj, Rade Veljovic (24, striker), Andres Felipe de Souza Galiassi (29, central defender), Vitinha (23, left back), who are also on loan, until the summer. Nei played a lot in the first half of the seasons, but scored only two goals in fourteen appearances in the league.
- Apparently George Copos, the owner of Rapid Bucharest, refused a tempting offer for the promising centre forward Alexandru Ionita (20). Promoted from the youth squad at the beginning of the season, Ionita scored 6 goals in the league already and also collected three call-ups to the U21 national team. The offer was higher than 1 mil. EUR and arrived at the club through FIFA agent Traian Gherghisan. According to the press, Ionita earns only 2.000 EUR / month, while the decision of Copos is rather strange, given his recent financial struggles and the desire to sell the club.
- With Rui Duarte (29) still just a transfer target and while waiting for Polish international Pawel Golanski to extend the contract that is running out in the summer, Steaua is also looking at the possibility to get back George Ogararu (29), from Ajax Amsterdam. Already transfer listed by the Dutch club, Ogararu refused a move to Roda and says that he won’t have a problem in convincing the club to release him on a free transfer, as he’s currently still getting 700.000 EUR / season.
- The Dayro Moreno case took a new turn, as the player looks very determined to leave Romania. In the time spent here, he tried to convince Steaua’s board to accept a bid from Once Caldas, although the Bucharest side had already shook hands with FC Timisoara. Moreno held talks with Timisoara, but surprised everyone with his demands. Knowing what the club is ready to offer (around 200.000 EUR / season), the attacking midfielder asked 300.000 EUR / season, while at Steaua he was getting only 60.000 EUR / season. His strategy angered Timisoara’s president Marian Iancu, who decided to withdraw from any negotation and Moreno returned to Colombia, where he could get good news (Steaua accepts an inferior offer from Once Caldas) or a bad news (Steaua suspends the player for the reminder of his contract).
- The veteran defender Cosmin Contra (34) is looking forward to a return to his beloved club FC Timisoara. Only a reserve player at Getafe in the first half of season, Contra is tempted by a return home given Timisoara’s chances of winning the title. This won’t be a premiere for the expert right back, as he did it once before, when he was an Atletico Madrid player, back in 2005.
- Steaua has not given up on two of its targets and the club is pushing hard for a deal with AEL Limassol regarding central defender Edwin Ouon (29), desperately wanted by coach Mihai Stoichita, after the red and blue outfit parted ways with Ionut Rada and skipper Sorin Ghionea. Steaua raised its offer from 300.000 EUR to 700.000 EUR. The same transfer fee could be paid also for FC Brasov’s right back, Rui Duarte (29). The Portuguese is probably the best player in the league on this position and is currently in a middle of a scandal with his club, having refused to return to Romania and start training for two weeks now.