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“I love the football here!” Popa on his switch to England…

30 January 2017

Forward discusses joining the Royals

New Royals arrival Adrian Popa says that he turned down opportunities to play top-tier football in Spain and Italy in order to move to England and join the Royals’ ranks in the upper echelons of the Championship.

It will be a new type of challenge for the Romanian international, who was a key member of a Steaua Bucharest team that won all on offer in their domestic league.

“I’m very excited to be here – I am looking at this as a forward step,” said Popa after penning a deal at Madejski Stadium until 2020.

“It was hard to leave Romania because I had some beautiful moments at Steaua and won seven trophies in four and a half years there.  But I am coming here to prove and to show my qualities.

“I love the football here!  For me, it’s real football.  I had offers from the top divisions in Spain and Italy, but I rejected them because I wanted to come here to England.

“I spoke with Gabriel Tamas about it – he told me about the Championship because he played here with Cardiff, Doncaster and West Brom and he told me not to think, just go!  But even without his words I would come.

“It is a different challenge, but I played like 50 games a season with Steaua because we were in all the cups and in Europe.  So it’s not a problem for me.  And I can’t wait for the first game to prove my quality.”

As well as making his first foray into English football, he is also confident that he will be able to slip seamlessly into the style of football which has been introduced by Jaap Stam this season – and hopes that he can help the Royals to success.

“I would like to thank Jaap Stam – he wanted to bring me here,” he continued.  “And thanks to Brian Tevreden also – he was fighting for a month to make the transfer happen!  We got it finished last night at around midnight.

“So I hope to play well for Reading, and to play a lot.  I like to play this style of football.  At Steaua in Romania we played the same type of football – possession and attacking football.

“It will be hard to reach the top two, but not impossible.  And at the end of the season we can’t be in the top two, I want us to be the team that wins the play-offs.

“I feel very good – the winter break in Romania was almost finished, and next week is the first league game after the break.  So I feel prepared and I hope to accommodate very fast.”

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