Rangers star urged to quit Ibrox to save his Olympic dream

Rangers midfielder Ianis Hagi has been urged to leave Ibrox and return to Romania by pundits in his home country to boost his chances of playing in next summer’s Olympic Games.

Ianis Hagi. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Ianis Hagi. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old was an instant hit in Glasgow after arriving on loan from Belgian outfit KRC Genk last season, but has struggled to replicate his initial impact in Scotland since making his stay permanent over the summer.

Hagi has been limited to a more restricted role for the Gers in recent weeks, and hasn’t started a Scottish Premiership match since the 2-0 win over Livingston in late October.

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The suggestion from some members of the Romanian media, however, is that the playmaker could be in danger of jeopardising his place in the national team setup if he doesn’t seek regular first team opportunities elsewhere.

Speaking to PRO X, former Romania international Nicolae Stanciu said: “From my point of view and that’s what I mean, this boy has not yet reached the sporting maturity. It’s not a matter of what he’s asked to do.

“Every player on this earth has 2-3 years of explosion, in which everything comes out, regardless of where he plays.

“He has not reached sporting maturity. He is in great demand for his age. Good, 21-22 years old, well, others have not been at this age and have left in the meantime without saying anything more. Whether it’s in Romanian football or in the world.

“So, this boy did not reach sports maturity, for God’s sake. Diego Maradona, won the World Youth Championship. From 1979 to 1986, some years passed. In 1982 he played for the national team with Mario Kempes, they didn’t do much, or well, as expected.”

Valeriu Rachita, a director and scout for Romanian side Astra Giurgiu, agreed, claiming that Hagi should return to former club Viitorul Constanța.

He said: “I think that if he leaves, he will come back to Ovidiu. Because Viitorul is not in the playoffs and he should be there.

“He’s going to help the club that enshrined him. Instead of staying at Rangers, I saw that the last period was a reserve, it is better to come, to play a match and to be a captain at Viitorul, taking into account the fact that in summer there is also the European Championship.

“There are also the Olympic Games, where Ianis Hagi will probably be in the team. If he plays less and less for Rangers, Mirel Radoi and Adrian Mutu will think twice before calling him, because there are other players playing in his position.”

Hagi has made 34 appearances for Rangers since initially joining the club on loan in January, scoring five goals and assisting 10 more during that spell.

The midfielder started his senior career with Viitorul Constanța in 2014 before sealing a move to Serie A outfit Fiorentina.

After an underwhelming stint in Italy, he moved back to Romania for 18 months before joining Genk in a deal worth around £4.25 million in 2019.

He signed for Rangers just six months later.

Hagi has already won 14 caps for his country, and previously captained them at U21 level.

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