Hertha's Voronin proves blonds have more fun in Berlin
AFP · 10 Mar 2009, 07:47
Published: 10 Mar 2009 07:47 GMT+01:00
Liverpool fans, having seen Fernando Torres struggle with injury and Robbie Keane sold back to Spurs, must be wondering what drove manager Rafael Benitez to loan the 30-year-old to Hertha Berlin after just one season in England.
Whatever the reason, Hertha supporters are grateful as Voronin's 10 goals - boosted by a weekend hat-trick against Energie Cottbus - have put the capital city on top of the Bundesliga.
"I have fallen in love with Berlin. I want to stay here," said Voronin, whose loan deal expires on June 30.
The striker is under contract with Liverpool, with whom he scored five goals in 19 games last season, until 2011, but such is his determination to remain here that he has hinted at taking a pay cut to help soothe a possible deal. The problem is that Hertha are struggling financially.
"This summer we can't spend a single cent to buy new players," warned coach Lucien Favre.
The 57-time capped, pony-tailed Voronin has been flying since the resumption of action following the winter break. Seven of his 10 goals have come since the turn of the year; two secured a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.
Voronin, a fluent German speaker and the father of two children, is no stranger to Germany. Hertha is his fifth club in the country having started with Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1997, then playing for Mainz from 2000-2003, Cologne from 2003-2005, and Bayer Leverkusen from where he joined Liverpool.
But Hertha has captured his imagination after his frustrating, bench-warming season in the English Premier League.
"The success here is down to good organisation and discipline on the pitch," Voronin told Kicker magazine "Every day we have tactics training. When you do this all the time, you know what you have to do on match days."
So the stage is set for Voronin to make his mark on the closing stages of the campaign before the tough negotiations over a contract get underway. But with a cash-strapped club, the future is uncertain.
"My next contract will possibly be my last so it has to be a good one," he made clear.