Rachita answers Steaua call

Central defender Valeriu Rachita has returned from PFC Litex Lovech to FC Steaua Bucuresti.

Valeriu Rachita has returned from PFC Litex Lovech to FC Steaua Bucuresti as the Romanian side's their first signing of the winter break.

Third spell
The 33-year-old central defender has begun his third spell at Steaua having previously played for the club in the 1989/90 season and for a further three campaigns between 1996 and 1999. He has signed a contract until 30 June 2004 which will see him earn €70,000.

Wealth of experience
Steaua coach Victor Piturca had no hesitation in bringing Rachita back to Romania, with the club paying Litex a fee of €20,000 as well as agreeing to pay an outstanding debt of €60,000 that the Bulgarian club owed the player. "We needed a player with such experience," said Piturca.

Romanian honours
Rachita won two Romanian titles and two Romanian Cups in his years with Steaua but also played for FC Petrolul Ploiesti, with whom he won a further Romanian Cup, in a Divizia A career which has already seen him make 242 league appearances and score 22 goals.

Foreign affairs
He moved away from Romania in 1999 and played a season with Turkish side MKE Ankaragücü before moving on to Litex in 2000. He won the Bulgarian Cup with his side and his contract at the Lovech stadium was not due to expire until the summer, but he was happy to rejoin Steaua when the opportunity arose. "I want to help, because Steaua have been going through a bad patch," said Rachita.

Striking option
Meanwhile, CF Sportul Studentesc striker Laurentiu Dinae is on the verge of a move to Steaua. Sportul owe Steaua €150,000 as part of a previous transfer deal which saw defender Florin Maxim join the club. Steaua have offered to cancel the debt in exchange for Dinae, 28, but Sportul are holding out for additional payments. However, both parties remain confident that an understanding will be reached shortly.