"Honestly speaking, I didn't have such great expectations," defender Cadú told UEFA.com as he recalled his move from his native Portugal to CFR 1907 Cluj in 2006. "But, step by step, things changed and Cluj became not my second home but my first one. Now I feel like a Cluj citizen and a CFR man."
The 32-year-old has certainly shown commitment to CFR, where he has won three First Division titles, three Romanian Cups and two Romanian Super Cups. On 27 April he made his 199th league appearance for the Cluj side, matching a club record set by Marius Bretan between 1969 and 1976.
Not untypically, given Cadú's passionate style, he was sent off for a second bookable offence 69 minutes into that 1-0 loss at FC Astra Giurgiu, meaning it took until Tuesday's 3-0 victory at FC Dinamo Bucureşti for him to register his 200th top-flight outing and claim the record outright.
The centre-back's disciplinary record may not be the best, yet Cadú has undoubtedly left his mark on Romanian football – the CFR captain has long since been Liga 1's longest-serving foreign player as he comes to the end of his eighth season.
"It is an honour to be the first foreigner to reach such a milestone," the former FC Paços de Ferreira and Boavista FC man said. "I never imagined I would achieve so much here, because when I came to Romania I knew almost nothing about the country or the club."
Cadú's arrival was part of a large-scale project by CFR owner Arpad Paszkany and executive president Iuliu Mureșan to infuse the Railwaymen with Portuguese talent in a push for trophies. Cadú swiftly emerged as a leader in the dressing room and was made team captain, leading his side in three UEFA Champions League group stage campaigns. No other foreign player can equal his total of 33 UEFA games for a Romanian club.
His league statistics, meanwhile, also include 27 goals – 19 of them penalties – with his spot kicks ultimately deciding the 2007/08 title and the 2009/10 Romanian Cup final in CFR's favour. "I experienced my best performances and greatest moments of happiness with CFR, and even if this season has not been one of the best, I wouldn't want to play for another club," he said.
"I am very grateful to Romania and Romanian football; to the club and to all the coaches I have had the privilege to work with, plus our fans too. Honestly – thank you, Romania."
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