|Born||Sep 5, 1973|
|Age||49 years old|
Corneliu Papura signed for Stade Rennais FC from Craiova in Romania in 1996. This central defender, who appeared in the Romanian squad at the 1994 World Cup, bolstered an area which had been weakened by the loss of Cyprien, and where Mijalkovic hadn’t been convincing on trial during pre-season. In the company of the Scottish defender Smith, he was the alternative to the aging Denis, and to the promising Lassissi. Often criticised for his lack of pace, the Romanian still demonstrated his qualities in his reading of the game and his heading game. His performances were consistent, and whilst he wasn’t outstanding, he was still good enough to be first-choice in the eyes of Manager Colleu. He was regularly paired with Denis at the heart of the defence, in a team which didn’t have much possession, but which relied on its’ attackers (André, Guivarc’h, Wiltord) to obtain results. With 29 appearances and 2 goals in the 1996/1997 season, he was surplus to requirements the following season when David was manager. He therefore returned to his original club have spent a season out of action.