Gheorghe Hagi is arguably the best among all time Romanian football team players. Fans used to call him as “Maradona of the Carpathians.” Hagi was named as the Romanian footballer of the century. While Romanian Football Federation proclaimed him as the Golden Player of Romania. He was a top attacking midfielder of eighties and nineties in Europe. He was exquisite in passing, ball control and he had great long-range shots.
Gheorghe Hagi was born on 5th February 1965 at Sacele in Romania. At an age of 14, Hagi started his football journey with youth team of Farul Constanta in 1979.He then played for Luceafarul Bucaresti for couple of seasons before returning to Farul Constanta in 1982.He scored seven goals for Constanta that season. He then moved to Sportul Studentesc in 1983.He played 92 games for them. He left Sportul for Steau Bucaresti in 1986.Transfer to Steu was quite amusing. Initial deal was for only one match, that too European Super Cup final. He scored the winner for Steu and they lifted the trophy. After winning the super cup, Steu wished to keep him and they did not let him go back to Sportul. He was a revelation for Steu, as he helped them to win three consecutive Romanian championships in 1987, 1988 as well as 1989. More over Hagi was instrumental in three consecutive Romanian cup wins for Steu in 1987, 1988, as well as 1989.In 1989 Steu even made it to the semi final of European cup. He scored 31 goals in 30 matches in 1988/1989 season. He scored 85 goals for Steu during his stint with them.
His exploits for steu and Romanian national team in 1990 world cup took him to Real Madrid that year. Real Madrid bought Hagi for $4.3 million. However, he was not able to reproduce his magic from his Steu days for Real Madrid. He scored only 19 goals in two seasons for them. In 1992, he moved to Brescia. In 1992 season, Brescia was relegated to Serie B. However, in 1993 season Hagi played a role in the promotion of Brescia back to Serie A. His stunning performance in 1994 world cup again gave him a chance to play in Spain, but this time with Barcelona. Like his real Madrid stint, Hagi was not able to make much impact, as injuries marred his progress. He left Barcelona to join Galatasaray in 1996.He found his rhythm again and played big part in Galatasaray’s success. He won four consecutive Turkish league titles with Galatasaray from 1997 to 2000.He lead Galatasaray to a shocking UEFA cup win in 2000, defeating mighty Arsenal. Galatasaray was the first Turkish win to achieve this feat. He sparkled during the twilight of his career, which is amazing. He bid adieu to football in 2001.
Hagi started his international career with Romania in 1983 as an 18-year-old teenager while playing against Norway. He played in three world cups. His performance in 1990 world cup yielded him the move to La Liga.1994 world cup was truly memorable for Romania as they made it to the quarterfinals for the first time. He scored against Argentina in a match, which Romania won 3-2.He scored against Columbia also. He scored three goals in that tournament. His performances yielded him a place in world cup team. After playing in 1998 world cup, he retired from international football. However, he came out of retirement to represent Romania in euro 2000.He represented Romania in 125 matches, scoring 35 goals in that process.
He turned to managing career in 2001.His stint with Romanian national team was disastrous as they failed to qualify, for world cup. He coached Burdaspor before taking over reins at his former club Galatasaray. He led them to Turkish cup win in 2004.However he resigned despite of cup win. He then joined FCU Politehnica Timisoara. He had a poor stint with Steau as well. He is certainly a Romanian football legend as he amassed six player of the year awards.