CFR Cluj legend Ionut Rada's Celtic comments are unnecessary

By David Walton

July 31, 2019

CFR Cluj legend Ionut Rada could be doing without putting his team under so much pressure ahead of next week.

The battling talk has already come from the Cluj camp over the last 24 hours. Director of Football Bogdan Mara has already claimed that the Romanians don’t fear us (Digi Sport). That’s all well and good, a bit of harmless confidence from our rivals we can take.

But was there any need for Rada’s disrespect towards our club in the lead up to next Wednesday’s first-leg clash between Cluj and Celtic? There is already enough riding on the contest as it is. There should also be a level of respect from the two clubs heading into the match too.

Ionut Rada (left) is a CRF Cluj hero (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

But Rada, speaking in the Scottish Sun, had this to say about our club earlier on today.

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“Everyone seems to be scared of Celtic, but why? They are a team who use their aggression. That’s their only weapon. If Cluj want to mix it up and fight with Celtic, they will lose. But they won’t. Dan Petrescu is too smart for that.

“Celtic remain a big name, but the Scottish League is weak and have no important teams in it anymore. These days Celtic are not very good. Yes, they get past a couple if stages in Europe, but that’s it.

“Cluj have a team now that is full of experience. They know what to expect and how to play at this level. I am certain Cluj will qualify. He (Petrescu) will already be planning on how to stop Celtic and I think the Scots will be in for a surprise.”

Ionut Rada clearly hasn’t been watching Celtic

It’s fair to say that Rada doesn’t have a Celtic TV subscription. He most certainly doesn’t watch the Hoops either, if his assessment of us is that aggression is our only weapon.

The likes of Ryan Christie, Mikey Johnston, and Marian Shved would be raising an eyebrow at that assertion. We have plenty of pace and trickery in our squad. Yes, Celtic have the ability to be aggressive and battle hard, but there is plenty to be impressed about when it comes to our flair.

Celtic have plenty of flair players in their side (Elvis Barukcic/AFP/Getty Images)

Is this really the kind of thing Petrescu needs in the run-up to the game? This kind of pressure won’t help his Cluj side, and it sounds as if Rada will be the one in for a surprise next week.

Of course, this is the kind of reputation we get when we lose to sides such as AEK Athens, or even ones off matches against Astana and the Lincoln Red Imps. Former players who barely watch us will simply judge us on those results, without knowing much about how we play at all.

Dan Petrescu won’t pay much attention to Ionut Rada’s comments (Graham Stuart/AFP/Getty Images)

Going by Rada’s comments, he’s giving us the old-fashioned Scotland look. The kind of side that maybe weren’t too great at getting the ball down, but is full of strength and aggression. That’s just not the way Celtic play at all.

Petrescu won’t be as arrogant as Rada is regarding our style of play. The former Unirea Urziceni coach will know we’re better than that, and it’ll be a tough game for both clubs in Romania next week.