Steaua plan to build all-Romanian team

Steaua Bucharest plan to offload every foreign player on the Romanian club's books after the end of the season and build a squad made up entirely of locals.

"I want to see a team built entirely of Romanians; that's my intention," flamboyant Steaua owner Gigi Becali told local media on Sunday.

"[Argentinean] Pablo Brandan has already left to join a Chinese club, the contracts of [Portuguese] Geraldo Alves and [Bulgarian] Valentin Iliev will not be extended after the end of the season and [Montenegrin] Stefan Nikolic will also leave."

Steaua famously won the European Cup in 1986, beating Barcelona in the final in Seville, with coach Emerich Jenei not using a single foreigner in the tournament.

"There were only Romanians in the team in 1986 and they won the European Cup, so why we should pay high salaries to foreign players and not win anything?" said European Parliament member Becali.

"You'll never see us being like CFR Cluj," Becali added. Portuguese Jorge Costa, coach of second-placed CFR Cluj, can rely on 18 foreign players this season.

Becali, 53, a former shepherd known for his charity actions on behalf of the poor and local Orthodox churches, faces six years in jail for trying to bribe players and officials from another team on two occasions in 2006 and 2008.

Steaua, who have a game in hand, are fifth in the Romanian league standings with 35 points, nine points behind leaders and city rivals Dinamo Bucharest.

Last month, Dutch side Twente Enschede ended Steaua's dream of playing in a European final at home after a 2-0 aggregate win in a Europa League last-32 tie. The competition's final is being played in Bucharest on May 9.


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