(Reuters) - Romania’s joint top international goal-scorer Adrian Mutu will return to his homeland in the January transfer window after agreeing to leave second from bottom French Ligue 1 club Ajaccio for Petrolul Ploiesti.
“Everything is agreed, I’ll play for Petrolul for one and a half years,” the former Chelsea and Juventus striker told local media on Wednesday.
Much-travelled Mutu, 34, scored 35 times in 77 internationals, the same goal tally as the great Gheorghe Hagi, but has yet to find the net in the league this season and was dropped for recent World Cup qualifiers.
Angered by Victor Piturca’s decision to leave him out of Romania’s squad for the World Cup playoffs against Greece last month, Mutu mocked the coach by comparing him to TV comedy character Mr Bean in a bizarre image he posted on Facebook.
The striker has not played for a Romanian club since 2000 when he left Dinamo Bucharest for Inter Milan, the first of six Italian clubs he represented in a controversial career.
Mutu has served two doping bans and broke his contract with Italy’s Cesena last year to join modest Corsican club Ajaccio, saying he would score more goals in Ligue 1 than Paris St Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
His move to Romanian Cup holders Petrolul reunites Mutu with former Romania team mate Cosmin Contra who was appointed as coach last year.
Petrolul, knocked out of the Europa League in the playoffs in August, are third in the championship with 31 points from 16 matches, four behind leaders FC Astra who have a game in hand.
Writing by Angel Krasimirov; editing by Tony Jimenez