Left-back, released by West Ham after just 8 months, scores twice for new club

PAOK fans

Razvan Rat scored a brace for PAOK in the Greek league yesterday.

When West Ham snapped up Romanian international Razvan Rat on a free transfer last summer it looked like something of a coup. A seasoned pro in the Champions League with Shakhtar Donetsk and a 98 cap Romania international - he was certainly a talented player many were chasing.

In fact, the Hammers swooped in ahead of French giants Marseille to complete his signing last summer.

Rat became something of a cult hero among West Ham fans. His onesie modelling has earned him fans in the stands as well as his eccentric and often amusing attitude.

But in reality he was a flop at Upton Park. The 33-year-old featured just 15 times in the Premier League before leaving after just eight months - joining Spanish side Rayo Vallecano after cancelling his contract by mutual consent.

His time in Spain was just as bad. He played just ten times for the Madrid based outfit, receiving widespread attention for a hilarious and stupid red-card, before being released in June, after just four months in Spain.

So his next move certainly had to be considered with a degree of delicacy. Rat decided that Greek side PAOK Thessaloniki was the best place to continue his career.

  TeamPosDuel LostAerial LostDispossessedChallenge LostFoulsAppsMins
Razvan Rat West Ham DF 30 7 3 12 9 15 1,131

And things are certainly going better for the 33-year-old in Greece - and last night he played the role of hero.

Rat has not scored a goal at club level since the 8th December 2010, but just like buses, you wait around for ages for one to come along and then two come along at once.

Rat opened the scoring against Gennaro Gattuso-managed OFI Crete yesterday in just the second minute and he scored again just before half-time, tucking away a calmly struck free-kick to his own surprise.

It came as PAOK ran out 4-0 victors, with Rat proving to be the star of the show.

In fact, his two goals mean he has scored more goals than all of West Ham's defenders combined so far this Premier League season...

  GoalsMinsApps
Winston Reid 1 540 6
James Collins 0 77 2
Aaron Cresswell 0 540 6
Guy Demel 0 230 4
Carl Jenkinson 0 68 3
Joey O'Brien 0 242 3
James Tomkins 0 450 5

It simply never quite happened for Rat at West Ham but he was still largely popular with fans. So no Hammers will be begrudging him a decent new beginning in Greece.

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