December 5 2013 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Hammers new left back Razvan Rat is already learning some cockney for his role at West Ham
New West Ham signing Razvan Rat has played in the Champions League, won the UEFA Cup, captained his international side and won a host of domestic league titles – but now he is determined to be a ‘good footballer geezer’ in the east end of London.
The 32-year-old has seen it all in his time with Rapid Bucharest, Shakhtar Donetsk and with the Romanian national team, but after a couple of weeks sharing a room with Joe Cole, the player who can speak five languages is learning a whole new vocabulary.
“Me and Joe Cole have had a lot of talks about a lot of things and the first one was about Roland Rat,” laughed the international left back who is set to make his West Ham debut against Cardiff City on Saturday.
“When we came back for pre-season at the training ground I had a picture hanging up where I change of Roland Rat. I left it there and it is still there. It is nice and it is a good opportunity to laugh more.
“I am okay with everything. It helps me that I know the language, now I just have to get used to all the slang!”
So why has the hugely successful Romanian decided to try his luck at West Ham – it is all part of a dream.
“To play in the Premier League is one of the three dreams that I hoped would come true. My dreams are to play for my national team in the World Cup, and we still have chances to do that and the second was to win the Champions League, but I think that one is gone already,” he reflected.
“I have played 50 or so games in the Champions League and 100 or so in all in Europe, but I also think I need to play games in the Premier League.
“I may have been playing Champions League, but Premier League is more or less the same level for me, the same pressure.
“It is not a step backward for me. I think it is a step forward.”
Rat played at Upton Park for the first time on Saturday in the friendly win over Pacos de Ferreira, but he has already had a taste of the real atmosphere the Hammers faithful can bring.
“Before I signed the deal I was at the last game with Reading. It was a nice atmosphere even though it was the last game and Reading were already relegated.
“I think in the beginning or the middle of the season the atmosphere here will be even better.”
Rat played the second half against Pacos on Saturday, but he is looking forward to a starting place this weekend.
“I am really excited and really looking forward to starting well here,” he said. “A lot of eyes will be on me and a lot of fans will be looking to see how the new boy is doing.
“Playing regularly is my first goal. Then keeping a high level of play, playing good, being loved by the fans because if I do play good, the fans will appreciate that.”
They certainly will, but what sort of player can we expect when Rat takes to the field on Saturday? He is not saying.
“I will play and then you can do the maths,” he said guardedly. “I could say that I am the best, or I am the worst, so let me play and afterwards you can decide.” It will certainly be a baptism of fire for Rat on Saturday, but no more than mixing with Cole and Mark Noble!
“There are a lot of expressions which are new to me,” he said. “My English is quite good, but there is slang that I am starting to use and in a couple of months I will be one of the geezers!”
There seems to be no doubt about that.