herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Onward Cristian soldiers

Red tape and €250k fee held him back but Bohs man is now on form

Goal: Romanian-born forward Cristian Magerusan celebrates after scoring on his debut for Bohemians in last week’s win over Bray Wanderers
Goal: Romanian-born forward Cristian Magerusan celebrates after scoring on his debut for Bohemians in last week’s win over Bray Wanderers

As debuts go, they don't get much better: you score in front of the home fans in a 6-0 win.

The only issue for Cristian Magerusan, as he turned away to celebrate after scoring in the School End at Dalymount Park late on in last Friday's 6-0 dismissal of relegation rivals Bray Wanderers, was that his first chance had come so late, 18 months after the Romanian-born forward joined the Gypsies.

Magerusan has been through a lot in his short career, from being spotted at a young age by national hero Gheorghe Hagi, to having a €250,000 price tag on his head, being dropped into the Irish education system at second level despite not speaking English, a long spell on the sideline due to red tape and two serious injuries.

"I am making up for lost time so I want to enjoy the good moments as much as I can," Magerusan said, still on a high from his feat of scoring on his debut in that heavy win over Bray.

"Even being on the bench for the Bray game was great, so to get on and score was amazing for me.

"For a while I couldn't even play for the U19s, I was training but not able to play so last week against Bray was my first proper match in two years."

There's a busy time ahead of the 18-year-old as he hopes to work his way into the starting XI for Bohs' next game, away to Dundalk on Sunday. And there's the small matter of waiting for his Leaving Cert results.

But he's used to waiting as the attacker has overcome some hurdles to date.

Spotted as a talent in his native city of Bistrita, Magerusan was asked to train at the famous academy run by Hagi. He was there for two years, between the ages of 10 and 12, and then went on to play for CFR Cluj, before a move to Ireland at 14, where he signed for Lucan United, but issues came up as the Hagi Academy, somehow, still held his registration.

Tough

"I came to Ireland when I was 13 or 14. My family were already over in Ireland, I'd gone from the Hagi Academy to CFR Cluj, I was back in Romania on my own so in the end I came over to Dublin and joined them. It was tough," he says.

"It was hard when I came here, I started school in second year and I could barely speak English, never mind trying to understand the Dublin accent. But I got on ok, I did well in school and hopefully I get good results in the Leaving.

"I was in England on trial at five or six teams and Sheffield United wanted me but I was told that the Hagi Academy were looking for €250,000 for me, I was 15 at the time and that was crazy for a young boy, no one was going to pay that," he says.

The issue arose again when Bohs signed Magerusan from Lucan United in 2017 but they were unable to register him.

"I still don't really know what happened, I thought Lucan United had my international registration but when I went to Bohs it became a problem and they couldn't get clearance, it was supposed to take two months and it took a year," he says.

He overcame an ankle injury in that first season and as the 2018 campaign loomed into view, he was hopeful, only for injury to strike again.

"Two weeks before the first game of the season, against Rovers, I knew that Dinny Corcoran wasn't feeling fit, the manager called me aside in training and said I had a chance of playing in that game if I worked harder, but in that training session I went over on the ankle and I did the metatarsal again," he says, he has only now recovered from that injury.

Aims for the rest of the season include a good Leaving Cert and a strong finish to the campaign with a Bohs side still still not free from relegation worries.

"We want to finish as high up in the league as we can and win the FAI Cup, it's a long time since Bohs won the Cup so we have to try for that," he says, also keeping an ear out for his nation's call.

"When I was around 13 I went for a trial with the Romanian national team and I did well, but I broke my arm and soon after I came to Ireland.

"The FA contacted me and asked me to go over but they wanted me to pay for the flights and accommodation and I wasn't happy with that, if they wanted me they should have paid for me to go and not asked my family to play.

"I don't have an Irish passport so I can't play for them anyway, but I'd choose Romania if I had the choice. Maybe if I score more goals they will take a look."

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