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Petrescu part of Rapid revolution

Published: Tuesday 9 December 2003, 11.00CET
AFC Rapid Bucuresti have caused a surprise by appointing Dan Petrescu as coach as part of a new direction.

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Published: Tuesday 9 December 2003, 11.00CET

Petrescu part of Rapid revolution

AFC Rapid Bucuresti have caused a surprise by appointing Dan Petrescu as coach as part of a new direction.
AFC Rapid Bucuresti have surprised Romanian football by appointing Dan Petrescu as coach to replace Mircea Rednic as part of a major change in direction.

Becali on board
The move came about after the club's main shareholder George Copos appointed Ioan Becali as executive president. Becali is a hugely influential man in Romania with his sports agency business including more than 90 per cent of the country's internationals over the past decade. To avoid a conflict of interest, his brother Victor will now run the company along with former international Gheorghe Popescu.

'A new challenge'
Copos, who has helped transform Rapid's fortunes in recent years, will remain as honorary president but Becali will have full control. Becali said: "I want to bring to this traditional club a European mentality. I do not want to spoil what has been achieved until now. This is a new challenge."

Vastly experienced
One of the new president's first acts was to part with Rednic and employ the services of Petrescu, the 36-year-old former Romanian international who played for his country at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and 1996 and 2000 UEFA European Championships. He also spent much of his playing career abroad in England and Italy, most notably with Chelsea FC.

'Huge step forward'
Petrescu was assistant coach at FC National Bucuresti in 2002/03 before taking charge of CF Sportul Studentesc, who he has guided to first place in one of the three second-tier divisions at the winter break. Petrescu, who has signed a three-year contract, said: "We will play aggressive football, we will change the mentality and what I want is to have at least 50 per cent of the mentality from Chelsea. This was an offer I could not refuse, because it is a huge step forward in my career."

Galamaz signed
Petrescu has brought with him 22-year-old defender George Galamaz on a five-year contract. Meanwhile, Rednic was disappointed to have left Rapid, having led the team to third place at the winter break, three points behind leaders FC Dinamo Bucuresti and FC Steaua Bucuresti.

Last updated: 09/12/03 13.17CET

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