Gheorghe Hagi

Gheorghe Hagi
Lansarea candidaturii Gabrielei Szabo pentru Camera Deputatilor, Voluntari - 04.05 (48) (14270956179) (cropped).jpg
Hagi in 2016
Personal information
Date of birth (1965-02-05) 5 February 1965 (age 53)
Place of birthSăcele, Romania
Height1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Playing positionAttacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Viitorul Constanța
Youth career
1975–1980Farul Constanța
1980–1981Luceafărul București
1981–1982Farul Constanța
Senior career*
1982–1983Farul Constanța18(7)
1983–1987Sportul Studențesc108(58)
1987–1990Steaua București97(76)
1990–1992Real Madrid64(16)
National team
Teams managed
2005–2006Politehnica Timișoara
2007Steaua București
2014–Viitorul Constanța
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Gheorghe "Gică" Hagi (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈɡe̯orɡe ˈhad͡ʒi] (About this soundlisten); born 5 February 1965) is a Romanian former professional footballer, considered one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe during the 1980s and '90s[1] and the greatest Romanian footballer of all time.[2] Galatasaray fans called him "Comandante" ("The Commander") and Romanians call him "Regele" ("The King").[3] He is currently the owner and manager of Viitorul Constanța.

Nicknamed "The Maradona of the Carpathians", Hagi is considered a hero in his homeland. He was named Romanian Footballer of the Year seven times, and is regarded as one of the best football players of his generation.[4][5] As a creative advanced playmaker, he was renowned for his dribbling, technique, vision, passing and finishing.[3][6]

Hagi played for the Romanian national team in three FIFA World Cups, in 1990, 1994 (where he was named in the World Cup All-Star Team) and 1998; as well as in three UEFA European Championships, in 1984, 1996 and 2000. He won a total of 125 caps for Romania, ranked second after Dorinel Munteanu, and is the joint leading goalscorer (alongside Adrian Mutu) with 35 goals.

In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, Hagi was selected as the Golden Player of Romania by the Romanian Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.[7] In 2004, he was named by Pelé as one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony.[8] He was listed at number 25 in World Soccer Magazine's list of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century.[5] Hagi is one of the few footballers to have played for both Spanish rival clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona FC.

In 2009, Hagi founded Romanian club Viitorul Constanța. He is currently both owner and chairman of the club. Hagi also established the Gheorghe Hagi Football Academy, one of the largest and most successful football academies in Southeastern Europe.[9]

Club career

Born in Săcele, Hagi started his career playing for the youth teams of Farul Constanța in the 1970s, before being selected by the Romanian Football Federation to join the squad of Luceafărul București in 1980 for two years. In 1982, he returned to Constanța, 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 Studențesc of Bucharest instead.

In late 1987, Hagi transferred to Steaua București as the team prepared for their European Super Cup final against 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 match, Steaua did not want to release him back to Sportul Studențesc 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 semi-final in 1988 and the final in the following year, while Hagi finished as one of the competition's top scorers in the former edition of the tournament. Hagi and Steaua were the champions of Romania in 1987, 1988 and 1989 and as well as winning the Cupa României in 1987, 1988 and 1989. His strong performances had him linked with Arrigo Sacchi's Milan and Bayern Munich, but Nicolae Ceaușescu's communist government rejected any offer.

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

Hagi began the 1992–93 season with Brescia, but after his first season, the club was relegated to Serie B. The next season, Hagi helped the club win Serie B and earn promotion back to Serie A. After performing memorably during the 1994 World Cup, Hagi was signed by Barcelona.

After two years at Barça, Hagi signed for Turkish club Galatasaray. At Galatasaray, he was both successful and highly popular among the Turkish supporters. Hagi was an important member of a team that would win four consecutive league titles. In 2000, at age 35, Hagi had the best days of his career winning every possible trophy with Galatasaray. Gala won the 1999–2000 UEFA Cup after defeating Arsenal in the final, a match in which Hagi was sent off for punching Arsenal captain Tony Adams.[10] This was followed by the capture of the UEFA Super Cup with a historic win against Hagi's former club Real Madrid. Both feats were firsts, and remain unmatched in Turkish football history. The mass hysteria caused by these wins in Istanbul raised Hagi's popularity even further with the fans and prompted French ex-international Luis Fernández to say, "Hagi is like wine, the older it gets, the better he is."

When he retired in 2001, Hagi remained one of the most beloved players in the Turkish and Romanian championships. Hagi is highly praised by the Galatasaray supporters. The classic chant "I Love You Hagi" was adopted by Gala fans since his arrival at Galatasaray.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Gheorghe Hagi
العربية: غورغي هاجي
armãneashti: Gheorghe Hagi
azərbaycanca: George Haci
беларуская: Георгэ Хаджы
български: Георге Хаджи
català: Gheorghe Hagi
čeština: Gheorghe Hagi
Deutsch: Gheorghe Hagi
Ελληνικά: Γκεόργκι Χάτζι
español: Gheorghe Hagi
français: Gheorghe Hagi
Gaeilge: Gheorghe Hagi
հայերեն: Գեորգե Հաջի
hrvatski: Gheorghe Hagi
Bahasa Indonesia: Gheorghe Hagi
italiano: Gheorghe Hagi
Basa Jawa: Gheorghe Hagi
ქართული: გეორგე ჰაჯი
қазақша: Георге Хаджи
Kiswahili: Gheorghe Hagi
latviešu: George Hadži
lietuvių: Gheorghe Hagi
Malagasy: Gheorghe Hagi
Nederlands: Gheorghe Hagi
português: Gheorghe Hagi
română: Gheorghe Hagi
Runa Simi: Gheorghe Hagi
русский: Хаджи, Георге
sicilianu: Gheorghe Hagi
Simple English: Gheorghe Hagi
slovenčina: Gheorghe Hagi
slovenščina: Gheorghe Hagi
српски / srpski: Георге Хађи
svenska: Gheorghe Hagi
Türkçe: Gheorghe Hagi
українська: Георге Хаджі
Tiếng Việt: Gheorghe Hagi