Gheorghe Hagi

Gheorghe Hagi
Personal information
Date of birth (1965-02-05) 5 February 1965
Place of birth Săcele, Romania
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 7 12 in)
Playing position Attacking Midfielder
Youth career
1978–1980 Farul Constanța
1980–1981 Luceafărul București
1981–1982 Farul Constanța
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1982–1983 Farul Constanța 18 (7)
1983–1987 Sportul Studențesc 108 (58)
1987–1990 Steaua București 97 (76)
1990–1992 Real Madrid 64 (16)
1992–1994 Brescia 61 (14)
1994–1996 Barcelona 36 (7)
1996–2001 Galatasaray 132 (59)
Total 516 (237)
National team
1983–2000 Romania 125 (35)
Teams managed
2001 Romania
2003–2004 Bursaspor
2004–2005 Galatasaray
2005–2006 Politehnica Timișoara
2007 Steaua București
2010–2011 Galatasaray
2014– Viitorul

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Gheorghe Hagi (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈɡe̯orɡe ˈhad͡ʒi]; born February 5, 1965) is a Romanian former footballer, considered one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe during the 1980s and 1990s[1] and the greatest Romanian footballer of all time.[2] Galatasaray fans called him 'Comandante' (The Commander) and Romanians called him 'Regele' (The King).

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.[3][4] As a creative advanced playmaker, he was renowned for his dribbling, technique, vision, passing and finishing.[5]

Hagi played for the Romanian national team in three World Cups in 1990, 1994 (where he was named in the World Cup All-Star Team) and 1998, as well as in three European Football 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, he was selected as the Golden Player of Romania by the Romanian Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.[6] In 2004, he was named by Pelé as one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony.[7] Hagi is one of the few footballers to have played for both Spanish rival clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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 biggest football academies in Southeastern Europe.[8]

His son Ianis is also a footballer.

Early life and career

Hagi was born in Săcele, Romania, from an ethnic Aromanian family.[9][10][11] He 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 the Romanian giants 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 game, 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. 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 AC Milan and FC Bayern Munich but Nicolae Ceaușescu's communist government rejected any offer.

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

Hagi started the season 1992–1993 with Brescia but in the first season the club was relegated to Serie B; in the next season Hagi helped Brescia Calcio win Serie B and get promoted to Serie A. After performing memorably during the 1994 World Cup, Hagi was signed by Barcelona.

After two years at FC Barcelona, Hagi signed for 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 the age of 35, Hagi had the best days of his career winning every possible trophy with Galatasaray. Gala won the UEFA Cup after defeating Arsenal in the final, a match in which Hagi was sent off for punching Arsenal captain Tony Adams.[12] This was followed by the capture of the European 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 made French ex-international Luis Fernández to say that "Hagi is like wine, the older it gets, the better he is". When he retired in 2001, he 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 SK.

International career

Hagi made his debut for the Romania national team at the age of 18 in 1983 in a game against Norway played in Oslo. 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 a few months and play at the 2000 European Football Championship, during which he was sent off in the quarter-final loss against Italy.[13]

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

Career as coach

Romania national team

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.


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 final with 5–1 as a score against their rivals Fenerbahçe SK. However, his contract was not renewed since his team was not able to win the Turkish League title against Fenerbahçe SK at the centennial of the club.

Politehnica Timișoara

Romanian team Steaua București 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 FC Politehnica Timișoara instead, and after a string of bad results and disagreements with the management, he left the club after a few months. Constanța's main stadium used to bear his name, but the name was changed after Hagi signed with FC Politehnica Timișoara.[14]

Steaua București

From June to September 2007, Hagi coached Steaua București, 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 Prague, Czech Republic, lost with 2–1


After Frank Rijkaard was sacked as coach, Hagi signed a one and a half year contract with Galatasaray on 21 October 2010. The official presentation was held on 22 October.[15] His former team mate from Galatasaray Tugay Kerimoğlu assisted him in Istanbul. He was sacked after a series of poor results in the league on 22 March 2011.

Style of play

A talented left-footed attacking midfielder, Hagi's playing style was frequently compared with Maradona's throughout his career, due to his technical ability as well as his temperamental character and leadership;[16][17][18] as a youth, he was mainly inspired by compatriots Anghel Iordănescu and Ion Dumitru.[18] A creative, quick, and mobile advanced playmaker, who was also tactically versatile and capable of playing in several offensive positions on either wing or through the middle, he was known for both scoring and assisting goals, and was renowned in particular for his dribbling ability, vision, and passing accuracy.[5][1] He was also an accurate finisher and set-piece taker, and possessed notable upper body strength, despite his small stature, which, along with his control, aided him in protecting the ball from opponents.[18] Despite his skill and his reputation as one of the greatest number 10s of his generation, his career was marked by inconsistency at times, and he was also considered to be a controversial player, due to his rebellious and arrogant attitude, as well as his low work-rate, which led to several disagreements with his managers.[18][19][20]

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup Other Continental[nb 1] Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Romania League Cupa României Cupa Ligii Europe Total
1982–83Farul ConstanțaDivizia A187187
1983–84Sportul StudențescDivizia A31220332
1986–87Steaua BucureștiDivizia A1410111511
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa Europe Total
1990–91Real MadridLa Liga294001040344
Italy League Coppa Italia Supercoppa Europe Total
1992–93BresciaSerie A315315
1993–94Serie B309309
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa Europe Total
1994–95BarcelonaLa Liga174212020235
Turkey League Türkiye Kupası Presidential Cup Europe Total
1996–97GalatasaraySüper Lig30141220313617
Country Romania 2231411763116271163
Spain 100231123021613531
Italy 6114426516
Turkey 1325915420431019273
Total 5162374714509532663283


Romania national team

International goals

Scores and results list Romania's goal tally first

Managerial statistics

As of 14 December 2014
Team Nat From To Record
Romania Romania 2001 2001 4 1 2 1 25.00
Bursaspor Turkey 2003 2004 12 2 4 6 16.67
Galatasaray Turkey 2004 2005 47 32 6 9 68.09
Politehnica Timișoara Romania 2005 2006 16 5 4 7 31.25
Steaua București Romania 2007 2007 11 6 3 2 54.55
Galatasaray Turkey 2010 2011 24 8 6 10 33.33
Viitorul Constanța Romania 2014 2016 139 75 32 32 53.96
Total 148 68 35 45 45.95



Steaua București
Real Madrid




See also


  1. Includes UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup (1986, 2000)


  1. 1 2 "Gheorghe Hagi". Planet World
  2. "Famous Romanians: Gheorghe Hagi". Romania Insider. 11 August 2010.
  3. "Hagi, pe locul 35 în topul celor mai buni fotbaliști ai secolului" (in Romanian). 7 November 2007.
  4. "World Soccer 100 Players of the Century". England Football Online.
  5. 1 2 "Romania and Gala’s commander and king". Retrieved 18 November 2013
  6. "Golden Players take centre stage". 29 November 2003. Archived from the original on 12 March 2004. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
  7. "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  8. "Suma fabuloasă pe care Gică Hagi a investit-o în Academie şi facilităţile incredibile din complex" (in Romanian). Gazeta Sporturilor. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  13. "Wall of Fame: Gheorghe Hagi". Infostrada Sports. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  14. "Constanta s-a lepadat de Gheorghe Hagi". (in Romanian). 21 November 2005. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
  15. "Hagi Returns to Galatasaray!". 21 October 2010.
  16. Marino Bortoletti. "HAGI, Gheorghe" (in Italian). Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport (2002). Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  17. "Hagi and Tugay take Galatasaray helm". 21 October 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  18. 1 2 3 4 "Gheorghe Hagi: The Maradona of the Carpathians". ESPN FC. 21 May 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  19. "Hagi's step too far". BBC. 13 March 2001. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  20. Emmet Gates. "The Unlikely Success Story of Gheorghe Hagi at Brescia". These Football Times. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  21. "Gheorghe Hagi career stats". Football Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  22. "Gheorghe Hagi". National Football Teams. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  23. "Spanish La Liga & Segunda stats". LFP. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  24. "Gheorghe Hagi Turkey stats". TFF. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  25. "Gheorghe Hagi – Matches in European Cups". RSSSF. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  26. "Gheorghe Hagi – Century of International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  27. Gheorghe HAGI. FRF. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  28. Romeo Ionescu; Razvan Toma; Simon Preston; Roberto Di Maggio (25 June 2015). "Romania - List of Topscorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  29. Roberto Di Maggio; Roberto Mamrud; Jarek Owsianski; Davide Rota (11 June 2015). "Champions Cup/Champions League Topscorers". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  30. Razvan Toma (6 January 2016). "Romania - Player of the Year Awards". RSSSF. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  31. "WORLD CUP '94; Romario and Baggio Among First All-Star Cast". The New York Times. 16 July 1994. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  32. "FIFA XI's Matches - Full Info". RSSSF. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  33. Paul-Daniel Zaharia (19 January 2011). "Hagi at the heart of golden era". Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  34. Christopher Davies (5 March 2004). "Pele open to ridicule over top hundred". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  35. "Legends". Golden Foot. Retrieved 23 September 2015.

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