Hearts defender Mihai Popescu says he is owed money as he speaks about old club Dinamo Bucharest and new life at Tynecastle

Hearts defender Mihai Popescu says former club Dinamo Bucharest still owe him money in unpaid wages.
Romanian defender Mihai Popescu in action for Hearts.Romanian defender Mihai Popescu in action for Hearts.
Romanian defender Mihai Popescu in action for Hearts.

The 27-year-old left his homeland last September to sign a two-year contract at Tynecastle Park, but claims some of his salary remains outstanding.

In interview with Romanian media, he spoke warmly of the reception given to him at Hearts and advised other players from his country to try Scotland

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Popescu left Dinamo shortly after Spanish investor Pablo Cortacero gained control and the club are now languishing in 14th place in Romania’s Liga I.

Fans are unhappy, while other players and staff have also complained that cash they were promised has yet to arrive.

“I had to be aware of the situation at Dinamo, I still have to receive a sum of money,” said Popescu in an interview with Digi Sport. “I kept in touch with certain players, I still have friends there.

“I don't even know what to hope for, what to believe. Being a Dinamo supporter, I want them to save themselves and start over with a new management. I just want everything back to normal.

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“I knew Dinamo's supporters were capable but I was amazed at how many people gathered around them. I'm glad that people are still in the mood and are with the club.

“I would like [the club] to win the Romanian Cup and play in the European cups. Supporters will always be by the side of the team, unconditionally, as they have shown.

“The last salary I received at Dinamo was in July and was given by the fans. Having then three or four months of unpaid salaries, as we received two salaries we were very happy.”

Popescu has started Hearts’ last eight matches as they edge towards the Scottish Championship title and automatic promotion. They are currently 15 points clear in first place with seven fixtures left to play.

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“It seems that we could not miss promotion, but there are a few more matches and we want to win them,” he said. “I feel very good in the team. I got used to it very quickly, the period spent here two years ago [at St Mirren] also helped me.

“I knew what it was about and I think it helped me. I also knew two colleagues, it was easier for me.”

He cited patience and understanding from colleagues as important in helping him adjust. He would also like to see more Romanians playing in Scotland.

“There are players who can leave Dinamo for good money. In Scotland I think it would be easy for anyone to adapt. The staff and colleagues have a different mentality, they are always by your side,” said the centre-back.

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“When I first came here, my colleagues were patient with me, explaining something to me twice if necessary. This does not really happen in Romania. If a player comes from another country and does not understand from the first what he has to do, he has to wait for the end of the training to talk to the coach.”

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