New contract for Cretaro
With great pleasure Sligo Rovers can announce the signing of club legend Raffaele Cretaro to a new contract for the 2017 season.
It comes as Cretaro is enjoying one of his career-best seasons as Rovers leading goal-scorer with nine goals to date.
This continues the building of the Bit o’Red squad for the future with Micheal Schlingermann, Gary Boylan, Kieran Sadlier, Gary Armstrong, Daniel Kearns and Tobi Adebayo-Rowling so far committed for 2017.
The contract will take Tubbercurry’s Cretaro into a 16th season at The Showgrounds.
Cretaro first joined the club back in 2000 making his debut in September of that year. He has been a continued presence at the club apart form single seasons with Galway United (2006) and Bohemians (2010).
His career appearance total with Rovers is now at 464, second all-time for the club, with 79 goals scored, third all-time and just three behind Padraig Moran.
He also has an impressive list of honours with a Premier Division title (2012), two FAI Cups (2011 & 2013), Setanta Sports Cup (2014) and First Division (2005) during his time at The Showgrounds.
2016 has been a great year for Cretaro leading the line with his recent form particularly impressive with six goals in his last seven starts.
Dave Robertson is overjoyed at having Cretaro in his squad again for next year.
The Rovers manager hailed the contribution his has made to the club not just on the pitch as leading scorer but in many other respects.
He spoke to sligorovers.com to give his reaction to the new contract:
“It’s fantastic to have Raff signed for next year. There’s two big things about Raff: First and foremost he is a model professional who adheres to the utmost standards. It is great to have someone like that around the dressing room, training ground and the stadium. Secondly the experience that he brings is invaluable. He has been there, see it and done it in the League of Ireland. He has found the energy to consistently perform at a high standard.
“It is no surprise to me that he is our leading scorer this year, his goals have been massive for us. The club will continue to support him as well as he works on his coaching badges and continue his work with the under-19s as I know that is what he wants to get into after he finishes playing. But I definitely think there is at least another year or two in him.
“He has led from the front for us this year and lead by example, that is why he is our top scorer. It is a pleasure for me to see that. I think anyone who knows Raff will know the work, dedication and commitment levels that he gives and he continues to work hard every day.”
Robertson appreciates the bond between Cretaro, as a local, and the fans who have watched him grace The Showgrounds for almost two decades:
“I have seen from the fans in Sligo how much he means to them. From the club’s point of view it reiterates how important he is to us and he means that much to me as a manager to have him here. He is great to have around as an experienced member of the dressing room for the first team and with his work with the under-19s. Raff is Sligo through and through and I am delighted to have him again in 2017.”
The signature comes shortly after Micheal Schlingermann committed his future to Sligo Rovers with the squad for next year now grown to seven. This is a policy Robertson explained he is continuing to work on:
“That work will continue throughout the coming period of time. We have spoken to the majority of the players in the squad already and will continue to do so between now and the end of September. There are negotiations ongoing and we will look to add more. We are building something here.
“One thing that I don’t and the players don’t want is for our season to fizzle out now. We have still got a lot to play for and will be aiming to catch the teams ahead of us. It’s not all over by a long way. But also even if it doesn’t happen that we catch the teams above us we are still building for next year. It is important that we maintain continuity and that will be key to bring success which for us is to be consistently a top four side.”