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Striker upset with Champions League roster snub

Goran Pandev was left off Napoli's Champions League roster, and he's not too thrilled about it.

That is the face of a man who knows he's screwed.
That is the face of a man who knows he's screwed.
Gabriele Maltinti

Earlier today, Napoli released their roster for the upcoming Champions League Playoff tie with Athletic Bilbao, and among the players left off. This wasn't a surprise to Napoli fans; he's been replaced on the roster and has appeared to be headed for the exit for some time now.

Apparently it was a surprise to Pandev and his agent, however, and his agent expressed their disappointment in an interview with FirenzeViola. "Goran is a professional," his agent said. "He is training the way he always has done during his career, with the utmost effort and seriousness. Certainly, he’s not happy at being left out of a competition like that, but the player still has faith."

Frankly, it should be that big a surprise or disappointment. With the limit on Champions League roster places, Rafa Benitez has to take the best players at each position. Pandev simply isn't better than Gonzalo Higuain, Marek Hamsik, Michu, Duvan Zapata, Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon, or Lorenzo Insigne. Once upon a time, he was better than most of those players, but those days are long gone. There's just no room for him on the roster, or in Napoli's squad in general any more.

Someone forgot to tell Pandev's agent that, however, as he told FirenzeViola several times that Pandev's chances of staying with Napoli are "very high". That belief seems to stem from Napoli having received "no concrete offers" for the Macedonian international, but with both Fiorentina and AC Milan showing interest, as well as various clubs abroad, there's little reason to think that an unneeded striker on the downslide of his career and who has just a year left on his contract will be with the club for very much longer.