BY: Florian Gheorghe
The domination continues!
After winning the last three straight national championships, the ex-European Cup winners FC Steaua Bucharest – or FCSB as it is called nowadays – achieved one unique feat for the Romanian football last weekend.
On Sunday, they defeated relegated team Universitatea Cluj 3-0 and took down their third major trophy of the season, the Romanian Cup. Steaua also won LigaI – the top football league in the country – and the newly-established League Cup in 2015. It’s the first time any Romanian team does that; Steaua had the opportunity to win the treble back in 1986 when they won the European Cup but failed to do so after losing to rivals Dinamo in the National Cup Final. Now, with a third trophy up for grabs – the League Cup – the Red and Blues didn’t wantto miss the opportunity again and were victorious in all three competitions.
“It was very important for us to win the third trophy because we made history. It is all on the players who wanted it badly. I’m glad I’ve reached all the team’s goals,”coach Constantin Gâlcă said after his latest win.
However, despite all his recent success, Gâlcă’s reign at Steaua will abruptly come to an end; his contract will soon expire and owner Gigi Becali has no intention of offering him an extension.
“I don’t feel sorry about Gâlcă, why should I? There is no room for feeling sorry in football. It’s about the contract. When his contract expires, farewell. I’m going to pay my dues and ‘Good Riddance.’ I’m fair. I want to publicly thank Gâlcă for the three trophies. What I want at Steaua is something else, an iron fist and this is what Mirel Rădoi is going to bring,”Becali explained.
Rădoiwill lead the team from the bench starting from next season. He will have full control, including handling the transfers, according to the owner. Rădoi is an ex-Steaua defender and icon; he played eight years for the Red and Blues before parting for Saudi Arabia; he’s also the owner’s godson.
Already, the future manager has his hands full; the leading Romanian team is close to sign two players from fourth-place finisher Astra Giurgiu and also Florin Cernat – ex-Dinamo Kiev midfielder who played in Romania for Otelul Galati last season. Basically, Becaliand Rădoi have their eyes set on the cream of the crop from LIga I taking advantage of the financial problems many Romanian clubs are facing. Steaua is one of the few profitable clubs in the league.
Still, the owner has one problem left in order to get his wish: Rădoi doesn’t have the UEFA Pro Licence mandatory to coach in Liga I. The problem though could be solved in another way: with the owner’s godson signing a player’s contract. This way, he will be the player-coach leading his team from both the pitch and the bench.
Either way, Rădoi will coach Steaua next season. His first task will be qualifying the team to the UEFA Champions League group stage. Can he do it?