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2013-05-22T12:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T00:38:57

The Big Interview - Razvan Rat

Romania captain Razvan Rat cannot wait to tackle the challenge of Barclays Premier League football head on after agreeing to join West Ham United on a free transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The 31-year-old left-back spent ten years with the Ukrainian champions and enjoyed great success, winning a total of 12 trophies during his time at the club.

But having found the lure of English football too much to resist, Rat is thrilled to have committed his future to the Hammers.


First of all Razvan, a very big welcome to West Ham United. How excited are you to be signing here?

RR - "I am very excited, because it has been my dream to play in England, so I am very happy to be here. I was at Shakhtar for ten years, so I must thank them for understanding my decision to come here. I've chosen England, I've chosen West Ham and I'm very happy for that."

You were at Shakhtar for a very long time, so how big a decision was it to leave?

RR - "This is what I want to tell you, that it was a big decision for me. After ten years, it is very hard to move with everything - your family and everything like that - so it is true that for the moment it might not be so easy, but I know me and I know that I will adapt very soon. I think it will not be a problem. I hope that the fans will adopt me as one of their own and I'm really looking forward to being one of the team."

Razvan Rat

Razvan Rat with his new manager Sam Allardyce

You've played in the UEFA Champions League with Shakhtar and EURO 2008 for Romania, but how much of a challenge is it to be coming to the Barclays Premier League?

RR - "I think that the Premier League is the best championship in the world. It's an honour for me and a big pleasure to play here. I played a lot of games in the Champions League [at Shakhtar], but you never know, perhaps we can get there or to the Europa League with West Ham. Anything can happen. I think we have a good team and if everything is as we plan, we'll be a tough team [to beat]."

The season has just finished and West Ham had a good first year back in the Premier League, finishing tenth, so you must be looking forward to trying to build on that now over the next couple of seasons?

RR - "Yes. I plan to end my career here, but not so soon - I hope it will be in something like five or six years. I plan to be here for a long time and I will give my best for my team and to give good performances here."

How much has the manager Sam Allardyce spoken to you about his hopes for next season?

RR - "We'll have a lot of time to speak about his philosophy and what we wants from me. I will be happy to help him and to be in the team as a regular player. [I want to be a] man who will be loved by the fans."

Finally, for the fans who may not have seen you play before, how would you describe yourself as a player?

RR - "I won't say anything about myself now. I just want to do my best and let the fans appreciate what I will do on the field. This is the most important thing for me, above everything, the love of the fans."

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