Ilie Balaci

Ilie Balaci
Personal information
Full name Ilie Balaci
Date of birth (1956-09-13) 13 September 1956
Place of birth Bistreţ, Romania
Height 1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Playmaker
Club information
Current team
Club Sportif Sfaxien (manager)
Youth career
1965–1973 Universitatea Craiova
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1973–1984 Universitatea Craiova 285 (76)
1985–1986 Olt Scorniceşti 30 (7)
1986–1988 Dinamo Bucureşti 32 (1)
Total 347 (84)
National team
1974–1986 Romania 65 (8)
Teams managed
1988–1989 Pandurii Târgu Jiu
1989–1991 Drobeta Turnu-Severin
1991–1992 Club Africain
1992–1994 Olympique Casablanca
1994–1996 Al-Shabab
1996–1997 Al-Nassr
1997–1998 Al-Hilal
1998 Universitatea Craiova
1998–2000 Al-Ain
2000–2001 Al-Hilal
2001 Universitatea Craiova
2001–2002 Al-Sadd
2002–2003 Al-Hilal
2003–2005 Al-Ahli
2005–2006 Al-Arabi
2006 Al-Shabab
2007–2009 Universitatea Craiova (general manager)
2009–2010 Kazma
2011 Raja Casablanca
2013 Al-Nahda
2016– Al-Hilal Omdurman

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

Ilie Balaci (Romanian pronunciation: [iˈli.e ˈbalat͡ʃʲ]; born 13 September 1956 in Bistreţ, Dolj County) is a retired Romanian football midfielder and current manager of Sudan Premier League side Al-Hilal.

He spent 12 of his 15 years as a professional with Universitatea Craiova, appearing in more than 300 official games with the club and winning seven major titles.

Balaci is considered one of the greatest Romanian footballers of all time, along with Gheorghe Hagi, Nicolae Dobrin, Marcel Răducanu and Florea Dumitrache.[1]

Playing career

Club career

Balaci is a product of Universitatea Craiova's youth system. He made his first team debut in 1973, at the age of 16, and won the league title in his first season. He soon managed to become one of the youngest players ever to score in the Romanian League. Balaci went on to play twelve seasons with Craiova, helping them to win two consecutive league titles in 1980 and 1981. He also won the Romanian Cup four times, in the years 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1983. He became an integral part of the team helping them reach the 1982–83 UEFA Cup semi-finals, before moving to Olt Scorniceşti in the winter of 1984. In December 1982, he signed a pre-contract with Italian side AC Milan, but the transfer did not materialize because of the communist regime in Romania.[2]

In the 1986–87 season, he jointed Bucharest rivals Dinamo Bucureşti together with Craiova teammate Rodion Cămătaru. He spent two seasons at the club, under the leadership of Mircea Lucescu. However, Balaci did not win any major trophies whilst he was playing for them.

International career

Balaci made his full international debut on 23 March 1974 in a friendly match against France at the age of 17. He earned 65 caps and scored 8 goals for the Romanian national team between 1974 and 1986.[3]

He also became captain of the national team during the UEFA Euro 1984 qualifying campaign, but he was unable to play for Romania at UEFA Euro 84 due to an injury.

Managerial career

After retiring as a footballer, Balaci went on to coach lower league sides Pandurii Târgu Jiu and Drobeta-Turnu Severin. In 1991, he coached clubs in North Africa and the Arab world, he became one of the most successful managers there having won over 22 major trophies domestic and international.[4][5][6]

He took charge of Tunisia’s Club Africain and Moroccan club Olympique Casablanca in the early 1990s. He then managed UAE, Qatari and Saudi Arabian clubs Al Shabab, Al Nassr, Al-Hilal, Al Ain and Al Sadd.[7][8] In June 2003, he was appointed manager of Al Ahli until January 2005.[9] He then went on to join Qatari side Al-Arabi in the 2005–06 season, before moving to the United Arab Emirates club Al Shabab for a second spell.[10] In August 2007, Balaci was hired as general manager of Universitatea Craiova whom he also coached in two periods, and remained there for two seasons. On 22 July 2009, Balaci was named head coach of Kuwait club Kazma. He had an impressive start with the Kuwaiti side at the 2010 AFC Cup.[11]

On 11 July 2011, he returned to Morocco signing for Raja Casablanca but was sacked in September after just two months. Raja appointed Bertrand Marchand as his replacement.[12]

On 4 June 2013, Balaci signed a contract with newly promoted Saudi Premier League side Al-Nahda.[13] In September 2013, he resigned his contract with the club.

In April 2016, he took over the head coach position at Omdurman-based club Al-Hilal.[14]

Managerial statistics

Season Club Titles
1988–89Pandurii Târgu Jiu
1989–90Drobeta Turnu-Severin
1990–91Drobeta Turnu-Severin
1991–92Club AfricainCAF Champions League, Tunisian League, Tunisia Cup
1992–93Olympique CasablancaArab Cup Winners' Cup, Moroccan Cup
1993–94Olympique CasablancaArab Cup Winners' Cup, Moroccan League
1994–95Al ShababUAE Pro-League
1995–96Al ShababUAE President's Cup
1996–97Al NasrGulf Club Champions Cup
1997–98Al HilalGulf Club Champions Cup, Saudi Premier League
1998–99Universitatea Craiova
1998–99Al AinUAE President's Cup
1999–00Al AinUAE Pro-League
2000–01Al HilalArab Cup Winners' Cup, Asian Super Cup
2000–01Universitatea Craiova
2001–02Al SaddArab Champions League, Emir of Qatar Cup
2002–03Al HilalSaudi Crown Prince Cup
2003–04Al AhliUAE President's Cup
2004–05Al Ahli
2005–06Al Arabi
2006–07Al Shabab
2011–12Raja Casablanca
2016Al-Hilal Omdurman

Personal life

Balaci's daughter Liana Ungur is a professional tennis player.


  1. "Ilie Balaci echipa națională" (in Romanian). Romanian Football Federation. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  2. "Comuniştii au blocat transferurile românilor". Adevărul (in Romanian). 14 November 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  3. "Ilie Balaci , International Appearances". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 26 April 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  4. "Le Roumain Ilie Balaci à la tête du Raja de Casablanca". Aujourd'hui Le Maroc (in French). 13 July 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  5. "Ilie Balaci a castigat Cupa Presedintelui". (in Romanian). 4 June 2004. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  6. "Balaci tinteste inca un trofeu". Gazeta de Sud (in Romanian). 23 April 2004. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  7. "Ilie Balaci all set to sign with Al Ahli". 7 June 2003. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  8. "Al Nasr, the Saudi vanguard". 27 October 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  9. "Meseria mea este de antrenor". Gazeta de Sud (in Romanian). 20 January 2005. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  10. "My players showed the right character". 4 October 2006. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  11. "That's the spirit, beams Balaci". 17 March 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  12. "Marchand nouvel entraîneur". L'Équipe (in French). 25 September 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  13. "Ilie Balaci, new coach of Al Nahdha". 4 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  14. "الهلال يتعاقد رسميا مع بلاتشي". Al-Hilal Omdurman (in Arabic). 20 April 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
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