Trio strengthen Spartak ranks

Wednesday, 12 March 2003

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FC Spartak Moskva have announced three signings ahead of the start of a 2003 season in which they hope to wrestle back the Russian Premier-Liga title from FC Lokomotiv Moskva.

Goalkeeper trials
After trying out 20 goalkeepers during pre-season, Spartak coach Oleg Romantsev finally settled on the 25-year-old Moroccan Abdelillah Bagui, who has signed a five-year contract. He will take over the No1 jersey after Maxim Levitsky was sold to FC Chernomorets Krasnodarskiy Kray and Stanislav Cherchesov's release on a free transfer.

'Great club'
Bagui, who has played six times for his country, said: "I was offered a move to Russia and I did not hesitate. Spartak are a great club, known across the world, and it is an honor for me to play for such a team. I have come here to help my new team win back the title." He will become the first African goalkeeper to play in Russia when he makes his debut, which is expected to be at FC Torpedo-Metallurg on Saturday.

Brazilian arrivals
The custodian is joined at the club by the 21-year-old striker Andre Souza and Brazilian defender Luizao, 22. Both have signed four-year contracts following their arrival from CA Juventus in their homeland. Another of their countrymen, the Brazil Under-21 forward Robert, is expected to sign from Swiss club Servette FC tomorrow.

Vasilyuk returns
Meanwhile, Spartak have confirmed that the Belarussian international Roman Vasilyuk has rejoined the club following a loan spell at FC Dinamo Minsk. One player heading for the exit door at the Luzhniki stadium is the Latvian international Andrejs Rubins. The former Crystal Palace FC midfield player has been sold to FC Shinnik Yaroslavl.

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