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Gheorghe Hagi ( ; born February 5, 1965 in Săcelemarker), is a Romanianmarker former football player of Aromanian origin. He was famous for his passing, close control, long shots and was regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe during the 1980s and 1990s.

Nicknamed "The Maradona of the Carpathiansmarker", he is considered a hero in his homeland as well as in Turkeymarker. He has won his country's "Player of the Year" award six times, and was recently named Romanian football player of the century.

He played for the Romanian national team in three World Cup in 1990, 1994 and 1998, as well as in three European Football Championships in 1984, 1996 and 2000. He won a total of 125 caps for Romania, being ranked second after Dorinel Munteanu, and scored 35 goals, being ranked first.

In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Romania by the Romanian Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years. Hagi is one of the few footballers to have played for both the Spanish rival clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

In March 2004, he was named among the top 125 living footballers by Pelé.

In a 2006 poll conducted by Romanian Television to identify the "greatest Romanians of all time", Hagi came in 15th.

Club career

He started his career playing for the youth teams of Farul Constanţa in the 1970s, before being selected by the Romanian Football Federation to join the squad of Luceafărul Bucureşti in 1980 for two years. In 1982 he returned to Constanţamarker, but one year later, aged 18, he was prepared to make the step to a top team. He was originally directed to Universitatea Craiova, but chose Sportul Studenţesc of Bucharestmarker instead.

In the winter of 1987 Hagi was transferred to Romanianmarker giants Steaua Bucureşti as the team prepared for their European Super Cup final against FC Dynamo Kyiv. The original contract was for one game only, the final. However after winning the trophy, where Hagi scored the only goal of the game, Steaua did not want to release him back to Sportul Studenţesc and retained him. During his Steaua years (1987 - 1990), Hagi played 97 Liga I games, scoring 76 goals. He and the team reached the European Cup semifinal in 1988 and the final in the following year. Hagi and Steaua were the champions of Romania in 1987, 1988 and 1989 and as well as winning the Romania Cup in 1987, 1988 and 1989.

After the 1990 World Cup, he was signed by Real Madrid. The La Liga side paid $4.3 million to Steaua for him. Hagi played two seasons with Real Madrid and then was sold to Brescia Calcio.

Hagi helped Brescia Calcio win the Italian Serie B and get promoted to Serie A, but in the next season the club was relegated back to Serie B. After performing memorably during the 1994 World Cup, Hagi was signed by FC Barcelona.

After two years at FC Barcelona, Hagi signed for Galatasaray S.K.. At Galatasaray, he was both successful and highly popular among the Turkish supporters. Hagi and manager Fatih Terim built a team that would win four league titles. Over the years, Galatasaray, led by Hagi, managed to win the UEFA Cup after defeating Arsenal in the finals. This was followed by the capture of the European Super Cup with a historic win against Hagi's former club Real Madrid. The mass hysteria caused by these wins in Istanbulmarker raised Hagi's popularity even further with the fans and made French ex-international Luis Fernández to say that "Hagi is like wine, the older it gets, the better it is". In 2000, at the age of 35, Hagi had the best days of his career, winning every possible trophy with Galatasaray. When he retired in 2001, he remained one of the most beloved players in the Turkish and Romanian championships.

National team

Hagi made his debut for the Romania national team at the age of 18 in 1983 in a game against Norway played in Oslomarker. He was part of the Romanian team until 2000.

Hagi led the Romanian team to its best ever international performance at the 1994 World Cup, where the team reached the quarterfinals before Sweden ended their run after winning the penalty shoot-out. Hagi scored three times in the tournament, including a memorable goal in their 3-2 surprise defeat of South American powerhouse and previous runners-up Argentina. In the first of Romania's group stage matches, against Colombia, Hagi scored one of the most memorable goals of that tournament, curling in a 40-yard lob over Colombian goalkeeper Oscar Córdoba who was caught out of position. He was named in the Team of the Tournament.

Four years later, after the 1998 World Cup, Hagi decided to retire from the national team, only to change his mind after few months and play at the 2000 European Football Championship.

Hagi retired from professional football in 2001, age 36, in a game called "Gala Hagi" on the 24th of April. He still holds the record as Romanian national team top scorer.

Career as coach

In 2001 Hagi was named the manager of Romania, replacing Ladislau Bölöni, who left the squad to coach Sporting Clube de Portugal. However, after failing to qualify the team for the World Cup, Hagi was sacked. His only notable achievement during the six months as Romania's manager was the win in Budapest against Hungary, the first of this kind for the Romania national football team.

In 2003, Hagi took over as coach of Turkish first division side Bursaspor, but left the club after a disappointing start to the season. He then became manager of Galatasaray in 2004, leading the team to the Turkish Cup in 2005 with 5-1 as a score vs. their rivals Fenerbahçe SKmarker

Romanianmarker team Steaua Bucureşti wanted to hire him in the summer of 2005, but Hagi's requested wage could not be met by the Romanian champions. Hagi became manager of FCU Politehnica Timişoara instead, and after a string of bad results and disagreements with the management, he left the club after a few months. Constanţamarker's main stadiummarker used to bear his name, but the name was changed after Hagi signed with FCU Politehnica Timişoara.

From June 2007 to September 20, Hagi coached Steaua Bucuresti, had a mediocre start in the internal championship mainly due to the large number of unavailable injured players, managed to qualify the team for the second time in line to Champions League Groups passing two qualifying rounds. He resigned due to a long series of conflicts with the team's owner Gigi Becali, which also happens to be his godson. The main reason for resigning was the owner's policy of imposing players, making the team's strategy and threats. Hagi's resignation happened just a few hours after Steaua's first Champions League game in the actual season with Slavia Prague in Praguemarker, Czech Republicmarker, lost with 2-1.


As player

Sportul Studenţesc:

Steaua Bucureşti:

Real Madrid


FC Barcelona:



As manager


Career statistics

Managerial statistics

See also


External links

1982-83 Farul Constanţa Liga I 18 7
1983-84 Sportul Studenţesc Liga I 31 2
1984-85 30 20
1985-86 31 31
1986-87 Steaua Bucureşti Liga I 14 10
1987-88 31 26
1988-89 30 31
1989-90 22 18

1990-91 Real Madrid La Liga 29 3
1991-92 35 12

1992-93 Brescia Serie A 31 5
1993-94 Serie B 30 9

1994-95 Barcelona La Liga 19 3
1995-96 5 0

1996-97 Galatasaray Turkcell Super League 30 14
1997-98 30 8
1998-99 28 14
1999-00 19 12
2000-01 20 11
G W D L Win %




Steaua Bucureşti


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