Thursday, November 27, 2014

Romania Greatest all-time team



Romania 1994
This is my all-time team for Romania. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Romania was one of four European countries at the very first World Cup in 1930, but the world did not take the notice of them until the 1980's.  They first qualified for Euro 1984 in France by eliminating World Cup holder Italy in the qualifiers.  In 1986, Steaua București won the European Cup by beating Barcelona.  The Cup was Romania's first major trophy in football.  Four years later, they went to the World Cup in 1990. Led by Gheorghe Hagi, Romania enjoyed over a decade of success at international tournaments from 1990 to 2000.

Team
GK: Silviu Lung 
He was capped 77 times for Romania between 1979 and 1993, and represented his country at Euro 1984 and the 1990 FIFA World Cup, where he was captain in all four matches.  He reached the European Cup Final in 1989, where AC Milan beat Steaua Bucureşti 4-0.  He also played abroad, in Spanish team CD Logroñés. He returned to Universitatea in 1992/93 and retired in 1994. 
Silviu Lung 
He is regarded as one of the greatest Romanian keeper.  He won 22 caps for Romania. He also played for Romania at the 1952 Summer Olympics. For his club career, he started with Metalul Bucureşti. In 1950, he moved  to Steaua Bucureşti, from where he retires from professional football in 1963. He was linked with a move to Arsenal in England, but it was impossible for him to leave the communist country in his era.

Helmuth Duckadam joined FC UTA Arad in 1978 to become professional. He earned two full caps for Romania in 1982 and, subsequently, was signed by FC Steaua Bucureşti. He was best remembered as the keeper who saved four consecutive penalty shots in the shootout against Barcelona in the 1987 European Cup Final as Steaua București became the first ever Romanian club to win an European trophy.  He was dubbed "the Hero of Seville". 

He is famous for having played for Steaua Bucharest in the 1989 European Cup Final, and winning the Cup Winners' Cup and Super Cup with  Chelsea. He also received 95 caps for Romania.  He went to the World Cup team in 1994 and 1998, and European Championship in 1996 and 2000. At the 1998 World Cup Finals, Petrescu raced past his Chelsea teammate Graeme Le Saux and scored the winning goal against England, which put them in the Group standing.
Dan Petrescu
CB: Costica Stefanescu
He started with Steaua Bucharest, but spent the majority of his career at Universitatea Craiova, where he made a club record 378 appearances.   He is also the second all-time appearance leader in Divizia A, having played in a total of 490 matches. He was capped 66 times.  He was a part of Romania's team at the 1984 European Championship in France.

SW/CB: Alexandru Apolzan
Apolzan was considered to be the first ever sweeper in the game of football.  Apolzan signed his first contract with Şoimii, a local team from Sibiu, in 1941. After the war he joins the squad of CFR Bucharest and then between 1949 and 1962, he played for Steaua Bucureşti until his retirement. He had 22 caps, but he played in an ear where international opportunity due to the War and the condition of Romania after the War.

CB: Gheorghe Popescu   
He was perhaps the most famous Romanian defender and the second most important player during Romania's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He was Romanian Player of the Year 6 times.  He played for a string of European clubs in his career, including Barcelona where he was their captain and a four-year stint at PSV Eindhoven. In 2000, he helped Galatasaray to win the UEFA Cup, the first time ever for a Turkish club. 
Gheorghe Popescu
He helped Steaua become the first Eastern European club to win the  European Cup in 1985–86.  He was an ethnic Serb and in 1988, he deflected to Yugoslavia.  He joined Red Star Belgrade and helped them winning the 1990-1991 European Cup, the second time an Eastern European side to win the European Cup. Between 1984 and 2000, he played 55 times for Romania, missing three years of action because of the ban imposed after his deflection. He played in USA 1994, Euro 1996 and 2000.

SW/DM: Cornel Dinu
He is commonly regarded as one of Romania's greatest players.  Dinu got 75 caps and seven goals for the Romanian national team between 1968 and 1981. He represented his country at the 1970 FIFA World Cup and for the participation in that tournament he was decorated by President of Romania Traian Băsescu on 25 March 2008 with the Ordinul „Meritul Sportiv” — (The Medal "The Sportive Merit") class III He represented his country at the 1970 FIFA World Cup.  He spent his entire career with Dinamo București. 
 
CB/LB: Christian Chivu 
Christian Chivu was most prominently played professionally for Ajax and Inter Milan. His honours at Inter included a treble of league, cup and the UEFA Champions League in 2010. He earned 75 caps between 1999 and 2010, and was part of Romania's squads for UEFA European Championships in 2000 and 2008. He also played for Ajax and Roma before joining Inter Milan.
Christian Chivu

LB:  Emerich Vogl 
Vogel is of Hungarian ethnicity. He participated at the 1930 FIFA World Cup in Uruguay and 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy.  At  home, he played for Chinezul Timişoara between 1922 and 1929, winning five times Liga I with his team.  In 1929, he moved to Juventus Bucureşti. He won their unique title of champions with Juventus in their first season played in Bucharest. Vogl played for Juventus until his retirement from his playing career, in 1940

LM/CM: Dorinel Munteanu
He scored 16 goals for Romania and played at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 1996, 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000.  He is the most capped Romanian footballer.  Munteanu played for many clubs in Romania before joining Dinamo Bucharest from FC Inter Sibiu in 1991. They sold him to Cercle Brugge two years later. After two years in Belgium, he moved to Germany to play for 1. FC Köln and VfL Wolfsburg until 2003.

CM: László Bölöni
He was the hero of the qualification campaign for Euro 1984 where Romania eliminated Italy and qualified for the Finals in France.  Bölöni's first team was Chimica Târnăveni. In 1970, he moved to ASA Târgu Mureş where he stayed until 1984, when he joined Steaua Bucureşti, being part of the team which won the European Champions Cup in 1986. He was also a part of Steaua Bucureşti that won the European Cup.
László Bölöni
LW/FW:  Adrian Ilie
He won 55 caps for Romania, scoring 13 goals.  He played at the 1996 European Football Championship, 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2000 European Football Championship.  During his three years with Steaua, Ilie helped the club to three consecutive Romanian league titles and the 1995–96 Cupa României. In 1996, Ilie was purchased by Turkish side Galatasaray Two years later, he joined Valencia. At Valencia, he was part of a great team that went to the European Cup Final in 2000.

AM: Nicolae Dobrin 
He is regarded Romania's greatest players in the 1960's.  He was named Romanian Player of the Year on three occasions, in 1966, 1967, and 1971.  He went it to the WC Finals in 1970, but did not play.  He was a long-term target of Real Madrid, but the Communist regime in Romania did not allow him to leave.   He played for Argeș Pitești for 22 years, and only one year for another team, Târgoviște. 
Nicolae Dobrin 
AM: Ilie Balaci 
He was considered one of the best Romanian players of all-time.   
He also became the 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.  He spent 12 of his 15 years as a professional with Universitatea Craiova. He signd with AC Milan, but he never joined them because the Romanian did not allow him to leave.

AM: Gheorghe Hagi
Nicknamed "The Maradona of the Carpathians",  he was probably the best player in Romanian football history.  He was named Romanian Footballer of the Year seven times.  He had 124 caps. He led Romania to the quarter-final in the1994 World Cup Finals.  He scored one of the most memorable goals of that tournament.  Fir club football, he was best remembered for wining the UEFA Cup with Galatasaray, the first ever Euopean trophy by a Turkish club.
Gheorghe Hagi
FW: Ilie Dumitrescu
He formed a frontline partnership with Gheorghe Hagi and Florin Răducioiu led Romania to the 1994 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal. He was best rememberd for scoring two goals against Argentina.  Dumitrescu was an important part of the Steaua Bucureşti squad. After the 1994 World Cup, Dumitrescu left Romania to play in the West, but his career did not match his success back home.

ST: Ştefan Dobay
Dobay was Romania's best player in the pre-War period.  He played mainly for Ripensia Timișoara, where he won the league 4 times.  In addition, he was league's top Scorer 4 times: 1932–33, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1936–37.  During the war, he played in Hungary. For Romania, he played 41 times.  He appeared at the 1934 and 1938 World Cups as a forward and scoring a goal in each tournament.

ST: Iuliu Bodola
He was a star player in the 1930's.  His nickname was Duduş. He was the top scorer of the Romanian First League in the 1938–1939 and 1939–1940 seasons. He played at both the 1934 FIFA World Cup and 1938 FIFA World Cup for Romania. After World War II, he joined MTK Budapest FC in Hungary, he represented Hungary and earned 13 caps for them.

ST/FW: Florin Răducioiu
He had 40 caps between 1990 and 1996.  He was a star at the WC Finals in 1994.  He played for Dinamo Bucureşti, A.C. Milan, Brescia Calcio, West Ham United, RCD Espanyol, VfB Stuttgart and AS Monaco.  He is one of the two professional football players (alongside Christian Poulsen) to have plied his trade in the top five European leagues (England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France), and the only player to score in those five leagues
Florin Răducioiu
ST: Florea Dumitrache
He is considered Romania's greatest striker.  He earned 31 caps and scored 15 goals for the national team. He represented his country at the 1970 FIFA World Cup, scoring 2 goals.  He  played 12 seasons for Dinamo București, winning the league titles in 1971, 1973 and 1975.  During a 1982 UEFA Cup tie against FK Sarajevo, Dumitrache headbutted referee Gianfranco Menegal in the mouth. As a consequence, he was handed the maximum seven year suspension from all UEFA competition

FW: Adrian Mutu 
He is Romania's joint top-scorer.  He was regarded one of the best striker in Serie A of his generation.  Mutu played 77 matches for the Romanian national team and scored 35 goals, a joint record alongside Gheorghe Hagi. He was included in the country's squads at the European Championship in 2000 and 2008. A four-time winner of the Romanian Footballer of the Year award, only Gheorghe Popescu and Gheorghe Hagi have received the award more times, with six and seven wins respectively.
Adrian Mutu

Honorable Mention
Victor Pițurcă, Viorel Moldova, Stefan Dobay, Ion Dumitru, Cosmin Contra, Ioan Lupescu, Dudu Georgescu, Mihai Mocanu, Lajos Sătmăreanu, József Pecsovszky, Marius Lacatus.

Squad Explanation
-- I have more modern players in this team than most of my other all-time teams.  
--  Gheorghe Hagi, László Bölöni, Nicolae Dobrin, Marcel Răducanu and Florea Dumitrache are the greatest players from Romnia.  
-- Nicolae Dobrin and llie Balaci did not have international reputation as the others because they did not play in a major tournament.  
-- László Bölöni was known as the coach at Sporting Lisbon that gave Cristano Ronaldo's debut in the first team.  He was credited for turning him into a wing forward.
-- Steaua București's European Cup victory was important to football in Romania. Helmuth Duckadam did more for Romanian football in one match than most other keepers in their lifetime.  I rewarded him with a spot. He actually played for Romania twice.  He is the only player on my blog that I selected for a national team based on his club career. He was probably the most famous Romanian player in the world before the emerge of the 1990's generation.
-- Adrian Ilie is underrated.  His career with Romania national team was overshadowed  by his teammates, but his club career took off with Valencia.  The peak of his career was cut short by injuries.
-- Florin Răducioiu, Ilie Dumitrescu and even Gheorghe Hagi did not play well in domestic football outside Romania.  Hagi's only great stint was with Galatasaray.  Mutu, however, did relatively well, but his reputation was destroyed by his drug scandals. Christian Chivu also did well with Ajax and Inter Milan.
-- Marius Lacatus lost his position to Mutu, who had a better club record outside Romania. Besides, he failed to shine at the 1990 World Cup Finals.
-- Cosmin Contra's international repution, perhaps was hurt by playing at the end of the Golden Generation.
-- Dudu Georgescu won the European Golden Shoe (for top scorer in Europe) twice, in 1975 and 1977 before using a weighted system to calculate the tally.  He never got the chance to show his skills outside Romania liked the younger players. 
-- Romania did not enjoy the same successes at the 1970 World Cup Finals. I still managed to select Nicolae Dobrin, Florea Dumitrache and Cornel Dinu onto this team. Mihai Mocanu and Ion Dumitru made honourable mention.


Starting lineup

Formation: 4-2-3-1
I made use of the three great playmakers from Romania. They might get into each other way, but any Romania's all-time must field all three of them. 


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