After 14 years away, Adrian Mutu is back in Romania having left AC Ajaccio for FC Petrolul Ploiești.
Mutu began his career with FC Argeș Pitești and then won the 1999/2000 Romanian double with FC Dinamo București before departing for FC Internazionale Milano. But the striker, 35, has now agreed to sign for Romanian Cup holders and title challengers Petrolul, coached by his close friend and former Dinamo and Romania team-mate Cosmin Contra, only three years his senior.
The gap between Mutu quitting Dinamo and joining Petrolul is a Romanian record for time spent playing abroad before returning to the domestic league, two years longer than Gheorghe Popescu's absence from 1990 to 2002. Since then Mutu has represented Inter, Hellas Verona FC, Parma FC, Chelsea FC, Juventus, ACF Fiorentina, AC Cesena and Ajaccio, as well as earning 77 caps, a tally he still hopes to improve as he prepares for the 22 February First Division resumption.
"I am happy to back home in Romania," Mutu said. "I have to be grateful for this excellent welcome here in Ploiesti and I hope I will repay, through my performances, the faith and feelings invested in me."
Arriving at a side second in the table, two points behind FC Astra Giurgiu and one ahead of FC Steaua Bucureşti (who have two games in hand), Mutu added: "I always wanted to win everything and that's what I want to do now with Petrolul, a team in contention for both the title and the cup. If I can play well and prove my worth again, I might even be nominated for the national team."
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