Over the last few years in English football, we have seen scandal after scandal.
Twitter outbursts, racism allegations, and even the odd sleeping with a teammate’s wife. Missing something? Ah yes, drugs!
Not wanting to be outdone by cycling and Lance Armstrong’s problems, I’m here to re-introduce a certain Romanian into the minds of English football fans.
Adrian Mutu was brought to Stamford Bridge from Italian side Parma in 2003 in Roman Abromovich’s first year in control of the club for £15.8 million. 38 appearances, 10 goals and a failed drug test later, Mutu was shipped out of the club after a £20,000 ban from the F.A (incredibly lenient considering fines for racial slurs). This may sound simple enough, but Mutu (or Murgu as many FIFA players may know him as), still has an association with the West London Club, with £17 million owed by Mutu to Chelsea since 2008; the Romanian continues to appeal the ‘breach of contract’ compensation charges.
It was at next club Juventus where he formed a strike partnership with one Zlatan Ibrahimovich, i.e. the craziest front two that have ever played, ever. After Juve’s relegation to Serie B following alleged match fixing claims (there must have been reports of the curse of Mutu?), the pair were separated without a hint of any rivalry for years in Serie A, until now.
Zlatan and Adrian both made the move from Serie A to Ligue 1 in the summer, to vastly different clubs. Ibrahimovich made the somewhat strange decision of moving to big spenders Paris St Germain while Mutu moved to a small club on the isle of Corsica, AC Ajaccio. Upon signing for the recently promoted side, Mutu was fully confident of outscoring his former teammate.
“We will again be rivals, but from a distance. I take the challenge to see who scores more. Even if he is in a better team, it is not a problem for me. I would bet.”
How much will you bet Adrian? Shall we say £17 million? I bet you have that lying around somewhere.
Post 2005, Mutu once again made his name in Serie A – not always for the right reasons – with Juve, Fiorentina and most recently Cesena. Fiorentina was the club where he re-found his passion for the game, but sadly, also for drugs; a nine month ban from the game came in 2010 after failing a doping test. “Why always me?”
With a now rare summer spending spree recently completed by Abramovich at Chelsea, diminutive playmakers and seemingly trouble free Eden Hazard and Oscar were the marquee signings. With such excitement surrounding the pair – among others I must add – at this early stage in their career, Chelsea fans can now surely forget about how quickly a players career can diminish after a big move, especially in the way Adrian Mutu’s has.
By Matt Morlidge