Uncertainty continues regarding the status of Rangers star Ianis Hagi as the start of the Olympic Games moves ever closer.
Romania didn’t qualify for Euro 2020 but they will take part in the Tokyo Games, with the football event set to begin in less than a month on 21st July.
Hagi has previously stated his desire to play, describing it as a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity [Glasgow Live].
However, the Olympics clashes with Rangers’ vitally important Champions League qualifying campaign and it was reported last month that, as a result, the club would stop him from travelling to Japan [Scottish Sun].
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has previously stated his desire to see his players rewarded for their club form with international recognition, while the club has been quick to draw attention to the squad members currently taking part in Euro 2020.
🏴 🆚 🇭🇷
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) June 22, 2021
However, as the Olympics falls outside of a formal international window, there’s no obligation to release players and previous reports have stated that European clubs like Inter Milan and Slavia Prague have no intention of letting their Romanian stars attend.
As yet, there’s been no official announcement from Rangers or confirmation from the Romanian FA of a decision regarding Hagi’s availability.
Taking time over the decision is understandable, as multiple factors have to be weighed up including the strength of Gerrard’s squad ahead of the qualifiers and the possibility of alienating an important player.
However, the calendar dictates that a final call will have to be made soon and it’ll be interesting to see what way Rangers go.
One player who will be available for the start of the season, albeit in a slightly different role, is Jermain Defoe, and he took to Instagram earlier this week with a post captioned ’56 pending’.