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October 4, 2022

A nightmare team

After the match with Serbia from the past Saturday, when Romania was defeated by an incredible 5-0, waves of criticism appeared in the local publications. Coach Razvan Lucescu, even regarded with a certain leniency, received his share of criticism, the same as the main stars of the team, Adrian Mutu and Cristi Chivu, while the other members of the team were most of the time liquidated. After such a defeat, the avalanche of harsh words should not amaze us. But the problem is not that simple, a failed match and nothing more. It has become increasingly clear that the present generation of football players does not rise to the level of the former ones.

Compared to the generation of Gheorghe Hagi, Gica Popescu, Dan Petrescu & Co. they are not similar. At that time, a lot of Romanian footballers were playing in foreign clubs and the change of mentality was visible. Now, many of the players of the national team come from the internal championship, which is characterized by accusations of corruption, endless scandals, and a low quality of the game. The doubtful performances of the Romanian teams in the European cups are relevant in this respect.

Finally, under the focus of attention is not the Serbia-Romania match. In time, the shameful result will be forgotten or at least forgiven. The national team itself is under focus. Beyond objective reasons, such as the above ones, the current members are far from reaching the mentality and seriousness required in order to make performance. The sports magazines of Tuesday offered two sensational pieces of news which involve the so-called “pillars” of the national team…

ProSport states that during the game with Serbia, at the score of 3-0, Cristi Chivu asked his friend from Inter Milan, Dejan Stankovic, to tell his colleagues to stop forcing. “Stop it, stop humiliating us!” has Chivu allegedly said. The Serb player in principle agreed, but could not convince all his colleagues. The most vehement refusal came right from Jovanovic, who fully disagreed with the proposal. Moreover, he was that who scored the last two goals against Romania, sealing a most painful score, reads the quoted newspaper.

In its turn, “Gazeta Sporturilor” (GSP) makes an inflammatory disclosure. After Adrian Mutu had been accused of having been, before the match, together with Adrian Cristea to a bar where they spent their time, – in the company of two young women – until 3 a.m., Mutu had again an insulting behaviour for his colleagues from the national team. Immediately after the match of Saturday (we repeat, the score was 5-0 for Serbia), Adrian Mutu disappeared. He left the hotel where they were accommodated in Belgrade. “He packed up and left the room without saying anything,” Razvan Lucescu said. GSP learnt from Serbian sources that Mutu had left by car to Novi Sad, 96 km away from Belgrade, where he joined a festivity organized by the boss of the local club, Radko Buturovici, a controversial businessman, who is judged for cooked matches.

GSP writes that Mutu got downstairs quickly and left the hotel where the national team was accommodated through a side door! Outside he was awaited by a black Audi! Nobody in the management of the national team knew anything about him! The party where he had been invited was taking place at “Park” hotel from Novi Sad, 96 km away from Belgrade. By 1.00 a.m., he was already at the destination! He returned at dawn and at 7 a.m., about one and a half hour before the departure of the players to Bucharest, he packed up quickly and left Belgrade. Also by a limo, to Florence! We should add that GSP also posts on its site photos with Mutu’s arrival at the party…

In such circumstances, what can we say about the national team, if the main players of Romania have such behaviour? If in Chivu’s case there is no evidence, Adrian Mutu has shown once again his character. The Romanians have shown him sympathy after the Chelsea case (when it was proved that he had used cocaine), counting on Adrian Mutu’s decency and sympathizing with him when he was sentenced by CAS to pay around EUR 17 M. He seemed to prove that he had surmounted his “behaviour problems” from his youth. But it is not at all so.

It becomes increasingly clear that the national team cannot rely on lack of enthusiasm and frivolity. What is happening at the national team of Romania, the examples given by some players, is unacceptable. That is why we believe that the first task of coach Razvan Lucescu is to reinstate discipline and a team spirit based on cohesion, spirit that should compensate as much as possible the low value of the team from the last period. The word even goes that Mutu will not be called again to other matches if he does not observe the programme. If this is the sacrifice, it may be worth doing. Anyway, in the last games Mutu showed that the publicity surrounding him exceeds his value on the field.

Lucescu himself was warning on Monday that those who do not observe his principles will not be called again to the national team, adding that neither the present nor the future of the national football team are great. It seems obvious, but at least the required moral level should be maintained.

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