Neagu’s homecoming is major coup for CSM
Winning the Women’s EHF Champions League last season set the bar high for CSM Bucuresti, with topping the achievement nearly impossible. But the Romanian champions are not willing to be a one-and-done team and they are aiming to create a dynasty in the European premium competition.
Therefore, it came as no surprise after CSM announced that Romanian superstar Cristina Neagu will make her homecoming, after she agreed to sign a two-year contract with the club from the 2017/18 season.
The heart wants what it wants
The 28-year-old left back, who has already won the title with Buducnost in 2015, is returning to Romania after representing the Montenegrin outfit for four successful years.
“It was a decision that I needed to take, but I ultimately went with my heart.”
“My heart told me that it was time to come back to Romania, after playing for four years in Buducnost and learning almost everything there is to learn in handball,” said Neagu.
The Romanian sharpshooter scored 303 goals in the last four years for Buducnost in Europe's premium competition, taking part in the FINAL4 in the last three seasons.
A versatile player, who boasts one of the most powerful shot in the competition, alongside with a plethora of passes that can undermine even the toughest defence, Neagu will surely boost CSM’s aging nine-meter line.
She is also set to complete what seems to be an unstoppable duo alongside Swedish star Isabelle Gullden.
Winning the league with a Romanian team
It was Neagu’s wish to play again in Romania which ultimately made the most-sought after player in the entire world to sign for CSM.
Born and bred in Bucharest, the 28-year-old left back left for Rulmentul Brasov when she was only 15, making the step up to Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea in 2009.
A shoulder and a knee injury nearly cost Neagu her career, but after nearly two years, she came back and took the handball world by storm, leading both Buducnost and the Romanian national team.
“We could have won the Women’s EHF Champions League in 2013with Oltchim, but I got injured and never had the chance to play again for them.”
“Now I have another chance and this is something I want from the bottom of my heart: to win the most important club competition with a Romanian club.”
“It would mean so much for me and for Romanian handball,” added Neagu.
The left back’s experience, being bilingual in Romanian and English and the ability to lead by example will surely propel CSM to the top of the favorites board next season.
“A role model for young players”
“CSM already have a very, very good team, so I think I will fit right in there,” joked Neagu.
The move certainly underlines CSM’s ambitions for the years to come, as the Romanian side already has Gnosiane Niombla committing to another two-year contract and is looking to retain several of their players who are finishing their contracts this summer.
“I am truly delighted to see a player like Cristina Neagu signing for CSM. It was frustrating seeing us her playing in another foreign team. We have to bring our top players closer to home so our young players can be inspired by them,” said Alin Petrache, CSM’s general manager.