World Football - Steaua refuse to release Romania stars

Romanian league leaders Steaua Bucharest say they will not release defenders Vlad Chiriches and Florin Gardos for the national team's winter training camp and an unofficial friendly in February.

Reuters
World Football - Steaua refuse to release Romania stars
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Florin Gardos and Geraldo Alves of Steaua Bucharest

Romania coach Victor Piturca has already announced his plans to include Chiriches, Gardos and team mate Cristian Tanase in his squad for the camp and the games against Poland on Feb. 2 and Iceland on Feb. 6, which will be held in Malaga.

However, Steaua are reluctant to release the defensive duo for the Poland match, which is not on world governing body FIFA's calendar, as they will be preparing for their Europa League clashes with Ajax Amsterdam on Feb. 14 and Feb. 21.

"We had a discussion and he (Piturca) asked me to release some players from our training camp in (the Turkish resort) Antalya but we really need them because the Ajax game is on Feb. 14," Steaua coach Laureniu Reghecampf told local media on Thursday.

"We can only release Tanase as he's suspended for the first match against Ajax. I understand Piturca but he'll have enough time to prepare the players for the matches against Hungary and Netherlands, scheduled for the end of March."

Romania, who have not qualified for the World Cup finals since 1998, are third in qualifying Group D with nine points from four matches, three points behind leaders Netherlands.

The Balkan side will resume their campaign on March 22 with a much-anticipated visit to second-placed neighbours Hungary, who also have nine points. They visit Netherlands four days later.

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