Season 9: Talent Mining

Season 2024/25

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a good season for us, which saw us snatch a CL place only thanks to the format of the playoffs. The new generation that has been brought to the first team has put in some decent performances, however I don’t believe them to be good enough to exceed the ability of our more experienced players like Nica, Kereszy, Vlădilă, Dobre and Andone. Overall, good performances across all competitions, though, and a very healthy financial season for us.

Playoff Table

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Liga I final table

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Competitions

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Awards

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Squad

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Key players

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Marius Penescu                                                                                                    

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Alexandru Ivan

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Bogdan Andone                                                                                                        

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Alexandru Nica

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Penescu is an absolute monster at RB for a squad of our level, as his impressive physique and mental stats ensure a very efficient coverage of the right wing both, offensively and defensively. Ivan has improved on his technical and mental side of the game this year, and has been pulling off some impressive performances as DLP. Andone is still our reference point in defense, and despite his personality he still looks like he could improve a fair bit, and I really hope that goes into his tactical understanding of the game, as we desperately need players who can read the game and increase the number of interceptions we make as a team. Nica had his most prolific campaign to date, with 27 goals and 9 assists in 50 matches, a typically efficient return from our legendary striker.

 

Notable performers

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Sorin Ștefan                                                                                          

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Cezar Dobre

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Ciprian Kereszy 

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Some solid and reliable performances from our second best defender, Ștefan. He is slowly reaching his peak and it looks increasingly likely he will be dropped for some of the prospect in the youth team, as it seems the club is outgrowing his ability. Our captain, Dobre put in some decent performances overall, which sparked that never-ending interest from Guardiola’s SLB. That unsettled him for yet another season and I’m struggling to keep his morale high due to the constant transfer talk. Still, good stuff from Cezar, as he is coming along really nicely and is set to be a key player for us in the coming years if I can keep him. Our no.10, Kereszy has suffered a very disappointing downside in his determination, probably due to the injuries he’s suffered over the last few seasons. He has been doing well in the AM spot, however he has been nowhere near as good as I want a player in that position to be, so I will have to think of something new, tactically speaking, for next season.

Youth Prospects

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Bogdan Ghinea                                                                                                          

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Andrei Marta

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Cătălin Vintilă                                                                                                            

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 Andrei Niță

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Another Bogdan in defense, Ghinea has really impressed as the rotation option for Sorin and Andone at CB. Improved immensely due to being fast-tracked to the first team and his personality definitely had its say there too. Andrei Marta is yet another player who made the step up from the U19s this year and filled in nicely for Buștei, who had a few injuries this year. Andrei Niță was on the brink of overtaking Tiberiu Vlădilă as our main AML, as the latter had quite a bad season by his standards. Put in some decent performances and looks like he has a bright future ahead. Vintilă is not your speedy man and neither is he Gods gift when it comes to technical ability, but somehow he always manages to put in a solid performance when needed at LB, probably due to his personality and mental attributes. Looking forward to see him develop a bit more before I make a more conclusive judgement. All four of them Bucharest-born boys though, and they all look good for the future :)

 Youth Intake

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What an intake, ladies and gentlemen…. what an intake!!! Truly the most remarkable batch of players that we’ve ever recruited, and if I’d be cynical enough to find a downside, there would be only one: no decent strikers for the 9th year in a row! Apart from that, positional depth, personalities, qualities fitting our philosophies, potential ability… you name it, it’s all in there. This was so good, that there are, in fact, 4 players that stand out from this year’s intake:

Cristian Dumitrescu                                                                                        

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Tiberiu Poșircă  

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Marian Blaga                                                                                               

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Tudorel Benga

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Really hope some tutoring can change Benga’s personality, and apart from that, the only thing I need to do about these guys is enjoy watching them develop and bringing them through with the correct training and game time to mold them into the best version of themselves. The encouraging bit that could be overlooked while high on this enthusiasm is that the next best players who (presumably) have lower potential than these four have really good personalities and could turn out to be really good players too, if managed correctly. This is as good as it gets, really :)

Other Developments

the club is set to be boosted by some great upgrades over the next few years, with another round of improvements for training and youth facilities as well as the new stadium, for which I can’t wait to be open so that we can give them fans the seats they deserve

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speaking of the stadium, the board has announced more detailed plans about this particular development

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the cost is more than reasonable, and a 13 thousand capacity is decent for now. Could have probably done with more than that, but let’s just hope extensions will be possible if necessary.

commercial summary

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Summary

A fantastic season for Sparta, marked by the incredible intake of this year as well as a good all-round performance in the competitions it took part in. Slightly disappointed at not having retained the title, but that only shows how great of an achievement winning it was last season. Still parting with a relegation favorite tag we overachieved for yet another season and made a good showing in the European competitions as well. Domestically, we’ve had some good runs in the cups too, so I guess it’s one of them years where you don’t get anything shiny but you can feel you’ve got good enough reasons to be content with your chocolate medals. Really looking forward to re-shuffling the squad a bit for next year, and figuring out a tactical system that will allow me to try out some new things as well as give game time to the amazing youngsters we’ve got this year.

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