Cluj striker George Tucudean opens up on his Celtic connection

By David Walton

August 4, 2019

George Tucudean’s Celtic connection is a lot more prominent than many may have known.

The striker returned from injury for Cluj to face Maccabi Tel-Aviv last week. He would continue his rehabilitation with a goal against Chindia Targoviste just last night. But despite that, he’s dropped a bombshell in the idea that he could consider retirement from football.

He spoke about it in the Daily Record along with his trial at Celtic and previous visits to Celtic Park. It’s clear Tucudean has a strong past connection to our club.

George Tucudean was a trialist at Celtic (Alex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

He said in the Record that he’s hoping to be fit to face Celtic. But, starting off, he spoke about why he could soon be considering retiring from professional football.

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“I’m thinking about my future. I could retire. It’s not like a knee injury or something, it’s a heart problem. I had to go to Austria last month for minimally invasive heart surgery and I missed some games. Doctors have assured me I am safe and nothing will happen and I believe I am back at the same level of fitness as everyone else, but obviously it’s going to be difficult for me.

“I am hoping to play in Glasgow against Celtic because I spent some time there on trial when I was 15. I stayed with a family in Scotland, but decided to come back home. A team mate of mine stayed on.

“When in Scotland, I trained with some very famous Celtic players like Shunsuke Nakamura, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Artur Boruc and Massimo Donati. I went to Celtic’s game against Barcelona when they were 60,000 fans who made an incredible atmosphere.”

Tucudean’s Celtic connection is a nice touch

It’s difficult to see Tucudean retiring between now and Wednesday night! Many would expect him to start the contest, and Neil Lennon will certainly be preparing for his inclusion.

Tucudean hopes to feature on Wednesday night (Alex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

But his bombshell about retirement is horrible to read. He bagged a fine 21 goals for Cluj last season, and is clearly a talented goalscorer. For Cluj and Romanian football to lose a talent like that would be disappointing for them. Health and safety, of course, is paramount.

As for his Celtic connection, he may have ended up being one that got away. It’s difficult to judge how any player will do as young as 15. But since Tucudean moved on, he’s managed to feature for the likes of Standard Liege, Dinamo Bucarest, and Cluj to name a few. He’s scored goals in most places he’s been at, and will be a threat on Wednesday if he plays.

Tucudean (right) is a regular for Romania (lex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

There’s been no confirmation on whether Tucudean will retire or not between now and Wednesday. But if he’s wanting to be fit for the trip to Parkhead next week, it’s likely he’ll stick around.

Cluj will be hoping he’s firing on all cylinders on Wednesday, and Celtic will need to be wary of the striker’s clever movement.

But it’s nice to see one of our Romanian rivals have such positive memories of Celtic ahead of what will be a competitive tie.