Interview with Romario Pires, captain of the University of Cluj

Romario Pires (33 years old) was one of the decisive transfers that “U” Cluj made in the winter and which helped a lot to promote in League 1. The Brazilian is almost a decade old since he first came to Romania and worked with three former coaches.

The central midfielder tells how Hagi explained to him that he will not rely on him anymore, because he has to help Nedelcu and says that this impressed him, not disappointed him.

The footballer born in Rio de Janeiro tells how he ended up spending time with the great Ronaldinho and believes that on a mental level he made a difference in the promotion match in League 1 with Dinamo. Romario Pires says that he was further motivated by the fact that “U” Cluj was not given a chance in front of the “dogs”.

“Even if people gave us a 1 percent chance. I’ve heard statements that there are three classes above us, that if Dinamo loses it’s a counter. But football means 11 men counted 11 men. When I saw these statements, they motivated me a lot. “
Romario Pires, captain of the University of Cluj team

Romario, how was this promotion for you?
I feel very happy. Together with the boys, the staff, the management, I managed something very big. We managed to take “U” Cluj where it belongs.

What made you better than Dinamo?
Honestly, mentally we were very prepared. The pressure from Dinamo may have affected them and they lost mentally. In the first match, the difference was made. In the second match they played very well, luck helped us, but mentally we were better.

When did you realize that you are better and can win the dam?
Honestly, before the first match with Dinamo we were very disappointed, upset, but at the same time we knew what we had in the locker room and we had great confidence in ourselves. Even if people gave us a 1 percent chance. I’ve heard statements that there are three classes above us, that if Dinamo loses it’s a counter. But football means 11 men counted 11 men. When I saw these statements, they motivated me a lot.

You were one of the decisive transfers made by “U” Cluj in the winter. How did you choose to go to League 2?
When I came to “U” Cluj I didn’t think I was going to League 2, I thought I was going to “U” Cluj, that is, to a great team. When I heard about their interest, I was very happy. As a football player, looking for such a team means that you have a recognized job. No matter the league, the brand and the name is very big and you have to be grateful.

Pires worked with three former Romanian coaches: “I learned a lot from them”

Were you upset with Hagi for not keeping you at the Lighthouse?
No, quite the opposite. I am very grateful. A special man, he really is the “King”. I, even at my age, learned a lot from him. I played at the Lighthouse, then he was honest with me. I wasn’t fired, he didn’t say he didn’t want me anymore. It was a mutual agreement. He told me that a boy coming up with him was coming, who was going through a difficult time in his career and I would receive fewer minutes.

It was about Nedelcu.
Yes… And I am grateful that he teaches you a lot from a human point of view. Every day he tries to give a little of what he has lived and we all have something to learn from him.

You worked with former coaches, Hagi, Răzvan Lucescu, Contra. Who was the best coach?
Yes, I had this pleasure. I really can’t say that one was the best. I learned a lot from everyone. I think each one brought me a plus, at different times in my career. They are great people of character and I am very happy to have worked with them. Hagi is the “King”, Contra opened my doors in Europe. The man who brought me to Romania, God forbid, is Nae Manea, but Contra took me to another level. I worked a little with Mr. Răzvan, but I have a lot of respect for him. I learned a lot from them.

  • Gloria Bistrița, Petrolul Ploiești, Astra, FC Hermannstadt, Farul Constanța and Universitatea Cluj are the Romanian teams for which the Brazilian Romario Pires has evolved in his career. He arrived in Romania in 2012, in Bistrița, and the only trophy won is the Romanian Cup, in 2013, together with Petrolul.

Ronaldinho’s SMS from 3 in the morning: “Brother, see I’m coming tomorrow morning”

Are you celebrating this promotion in Rio?
No, I’m celebrating at home in Ploiesti. It will be a short vacation. We need to rest, stay with family. A difficult season is coming.

Did I understand that you know Ronaldinho?
I had this pleasure too, yes. I met him when I was playing in Israel, through mutual friends, who played beach soccer. I was told that Ronaldinho was coming to Israel and asked someone he trusted to talk to and help him there. I told him to give me my number and at 3 in the morning he gave me a message: “Brother, you see I’m coming tomorrow morning.” Then I went to his house in Rio. I can’t say we’re friends, but I know him. When we were in Rio we met again. He is a special person, a great character. It was not in vain where he got to. The happiness he had on the field he has outside as well. It’s that simple. We think of him as a superstar, but when we meet him we see how simple he is. He just wants to be happy.

You have experience in League 1. What can “U” Cluj hope for. What goal should he set himself?
A team like “U” Cluj, big, when it returns will have a lot of support. I saw Rapid’s example. We need to take things in stride and try not focus too much on the problem.

What will the derby with CFR look like?
I can not wait. It’s very nice when you have two teams in town. I think it will be very nice.

  • Romario Pires broke up in the winter, at the beginning of this year, with Farul Constanțafor which he had evolved into 15 matches (912 minutes) in the first part of the League 1 season. He then signed with “U” Clujfor which he evolved into 12 of the 13 matches (1015 minutes) played by the team in 2022 in League 2 and scored a goal, with Concordia (score 4-0), in the regular season, right at his debut. It has also evolved into those two games in the dam promotion with Dinamo (180 minutes).

Photo: Răzvan Păsărică and Flaviu Buboi / Sport Pictures