It was the summer of 2010 — Otelul Galati surely wasn’t thinking they would be topping the standings in Liga I with three rounds to go — when the skipper shocked the president with a request you won’t hear too often these days.
On Thursday evening, in front of a packed stadium, Paraschiv made an unexpected return to Otelul’s first eleven, recovering for a “season-ending” injury suffered at the beginning of April. He went on to score twice in the first half – both goals weren’t supposed to stand, though, as you can see here – and secured a vital win against Universitatea Craiova that allowed them to regain the top spot, after the other two title contenders, FC Vaslui and FC Timisoara, drew in their direct encounter.
It was the second brace of the season for the talismanic skipper, but the central attacking midfielder used often as a false number 9 has only five goals in his account this season, with a total record of 35 goals scored in over 160 games in Liga I.
He was never a prolific goalscorer, but has offered, in recent years, a return with something that’s hard to find and very difficult to repay: character.
So, the player who, at the end of a difficult season in which his seven goals and consistent displays ensured salvation, was awarded by a former colleague, Adrian Anca, the last monthly wage, as a sign of gratitude, approached his president, Marius Stan, with a shocking request.
“I am not pleased with my recent form and the way I’m playing, so I would like to ask you to reduce my wage by 30%, starting this year,” said the 33-year-old to a president who was looking around for a hidden camera.
“I’m grateful for the raise you have given me when I was on top of my game, so this is the right thing to do, especially considering the current financial struggle.”
The example of Paraschiv, who was earning around 6.000 Euros per month before the wage-cut, was followed by Alejandro Viglianti and Milan Perendija, and the gestures were praised by Stan, who had also offloaded three foreign players that summer, reducing the yearly wage budget by almost 200.000 Euros, an important sum for a small club like Otelul, who was never expecting to have the best season in its’ history.
The group lead and inspired by “Para,” under the strict command of the ambitious Dorinel Munteanu, impressed throughout the season with tactical discipline and an amazing work-rate and is now three rounds away from the league title and a presence in the Champions League’s group stage.
Two performances for which the modest and hard working captain would have given up his entire salary, back in July, because apparently there are still some 33-year-olds who haven’t saved millions in their careers, yet they’re not desperate to collect as much money as possible before the end.