Romanian holds the power at the Etihad, writes John Foster...
Manchester City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon has told reporters he is confident of establishing himself as the club's No.1 after taking over the shirt, gloves and official goalkeeper’s residence from Joe Hart.
Hart was finally dropped after a protracted slump in form, with Pantilimon preferred for City’s recent matches against Norwich, CSKA Moscow and Sunderland. The giant Romanian keeper, who is so tall that his height can only be estimated, told FFT that he is enjoying his newfound role in the starting XI.
“When I first got here, nobody knew who I was,” the ex-Timisoara stopper told reporters. “They tended to assume I was a basketball player, or a tall tourist, or Joe Hart’s enormous spirit companion.
“But now things are different. I especially like living in Joe’s penthouse, and it’s been a lot of fun getting to know Kimberley [Crew, Hart’s fiancée]. I barely miss Rocky, my goldfish, at all. I do hope Joe’s remembering to feed him, though.”
Other aspects of Hart’s life now belonging to Pantilimon include his sports car, his Netflix subscription, and his endorsement deal with a leading brand of dandruff shampoo.
“Having a healthier scalp has been an additional bonus,” Pantilimon continued, holding up a magazine advertisement with the slogan ‘Reaches the parts other shampoos are physically unable to reach’.
“I hope Joe finds equal satisfaction as the face of Romania’s leading brand of gusset freshener, Panty Lemon.”
Pantilimon was gracious about his rival’s prospects, however, suggesting that a spell in the reserves and living in what was until recently, Pantilimon’s Altrincham bedsit, might do him good.
“I think Joe just needs some time to get his head together to work on the basics and maybe spend some time with his family. Except, of course, it’s Costel Pantilimon’s family now.”