Thursday, November 27, 2014

Romania Greatest all-time team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Romania World Cup 1994

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
The Romanian Football Federation (Federația Română de Fotbal) was established in October 1909 in Bucharest. Romania's national football team played their first international match on 8 June 1922, securing a 2–1 victory over Yugoslavia in Belgrade under the guidance of coach Teofil Moraru. While Romania participated in the inaugural World Cup in 1930 as one of the four European representatives, it was not until the 1980s that they truly captured the attention of the global football community.

Romania's breakthrough came in the qualifiers for Euro 1984, held in France, where they qualified by eliminating the reigning World Cup champions, Italy. The remarkable achievement propelled them onto the international stage. In 1986, Steaua București, a Romanian club, triumphed in the European Cup by defeating Barcelona, marking Romania's first major success in football. Building on this momentum, the national team secured a spot in the 1990 World Cup. Guided by the influential Gheorghe Hagi, Romania experienced a successful decade in international tournaments from 1990 to 2000.

At the European Championships, Romania's most notable performance occurred in 2000. They progressed to the quarter-finals from a group featuring Germany, Portugal, and England, ultimately falling to the eventual runners-up, Italy. Prior to that, Romania had also reached the quarter-finals in 1960 and 1972, and they have qualified for a total of five European Championships.

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.  

Romania's all-blond team in the 1998 World Cup Finals
GK: Silviu Lung 
Silviu Lung 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 Romania's 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 
Ion Voinescu 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". 

RB: Dan Petrescu  
 Dan Petrescu 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
Contra played professionally in three countries, where he appeared for Alavés, AC Milan, Atlético Madrid and Getafe, amassing La Liga totals of 188 games and eight goals. He was an important part in the Alaves' runner-up run in the 2001 UEFA Cup. A Romania international for nearly 15 years, he represented the nation in two European Championships in 2000 and 2008.

Costica Stefanescu

Costica Stefanescu 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.

CB: Gheorghe Popescu   
Gheorghe Popescu 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.  At the club level, 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
Cornel Dinu 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. Chivu's first professional clubs were FCM Reșița and FC Universitatea Craiova. He also played for Ajax and Roma before joining Inter Milan.  He earned 75 caps between 1999 and 2010, and was part of Romania's squads for UEFA European Championships in 2000 and 2008. 
Christian Chivu
LB:  Emerich Vogl 
Vogel is of Hungarian ethnicity. He participated at the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay and 1934 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. 

DM/CM: Ion Dumitru 
Ion Dumitru played club football mainly for Rapid Bucureşti and Steaua Bucureşti.  He also played for Universitatea Craiova. He played 47 times for Romania between 1970 and 1980.  He represented his country at the 1970 World Cup Finals. He is widely regarded as one of Romania's greatest players. He won the Romanian Footballer of the Year in 1973 and 1975.

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

CM: László Bölöni
László Bölöni 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
Adrian Ilie won 55 caps for Romania, scoring 13 goals.  He played at the 1996 European Championship, 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship.  During his 3 years with Steaua, Ilie helped the club to 3 consecutive Romanian league titles and the 1995–96 Cupa României. In 1996, Ilie was purchased by 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/CM/UT: Josif Petschovschi
József Pecsovszky or Iosif Petschovschi was nicknamed was Peci. He could play in any position on the pitch, he was even goalkeeper once. He played 273 games in Divizia A, scoring a massive 86 goals. For Romania he won 32 caps, scoring 11 goals. Hr made his debut in Divizia A at the age of 16, as player of Chinezul Timișoara in 1937.  Between 1945 and 1958, he was capped 32 times.

AM: Nicolae Dobrin 
Nicolae Dobrin 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 
Ilie Balaci was considered one of the best Romanian players of all-time.  He also became the captain of the national team during the Euro 1984 qualifying campaign, but he was unable to play for Romania at 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
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
Iuliu Bodola's 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 World Cup and 1938 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: Florea Dumitrache
Florea Dumitrache is considered Romania's greatest striker.  He earned 31 caps and scored 15 goals for Romania. He went to the 1970 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 game, he 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 
Adrian Mutu 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
Mircea David, Vasile Iordache, Bogdan Lobonț Bogdan Stelea, Necula Răducanu, Ciprian Tătărușanu, Mihai Mocanu, Costica Stefanescu, Dan Coe, Daniel Prodan, Mircea Rednic, Emerich Dembrovsky, Marcel Răducanu, Radu Nunweiller, Nicolae Simatoc, Lajos Sătmăreanu, Nicolae Ungureanu, Anghel Iordănescu, Iuliu Baratky, Marius Lacatus, Dudu Georgescu, Victor Pițurcă, Viorel Moldovan, Silviu Bindea, Titus Ozon, Ion Pârcălab, Florin Răducioiu, Ilie Dumitrescu, István Avar, Nicolae Simatoc, Ioan Sabău, Ioan Lupescu, Dudu Georgescu.

Squad Explanation
-- The original team was created in November, 2014.  I did an in dept review of the team in November, 2021 seven years after its creation.  I expanded this section.
-- Gheorghe Hagi, László Bölöni, Nicolae Dobrin, llie Balaci and Florea Dumitrache were the greatest players from Romania.  They were automatic selections.
-- The 1990's generation had the best ever results for Romania.  From 1990 World Cup until Euro 2000, they reached the second round of most tournaments it qualified. Silviu Lung, Miodrag Belodedici, Dorinel Munteanu, Gheorghe Hagi, Dan Petrescu and Gheorghe Popescu made this team.  Cristian Chivu and Adrian Ilie also featured in tournaments after the 1994 World Cup Finals.
-- Romania did not enjoy the same successes at the 1970 World Cup Finals as in the Finals during the 1990's. I still managed to select Nicolae Dobrin, Ion Dumitru, Florea Dumitrache and Cornel Dinu onto this team. Mihai Mocanu and Ion Dumitru made honourable mentions. Manager Angelo Niculescu did not use Nicolae Dobrin in Mexico due to Dobrin's poor disciplinary record.  He did not have the exposure outside of Romania as the later generations.
1970 World Cup Finals
-- has compiled a list of the top 10 legendary Romanian football players. Here is the ranking: 10) Ladislau Bölöni, 9)  Miodrag Belodedici, 8) Helmuth Duckadam, 7) Dan Petrescu, 6) Adrian Mutu, 5) Cristian Chivu, 4) Ilie Balaci, 3) Gica Popescu, 2) Nicolae Dobrin, 1) Gheorghe Hagi.
-- Radio also created their own top 10 greatest Romanian footballers. This is their ranking: 1) Dorinel Munteanu, 2) Gheorghe Hagi, 3) Ilie Dumitrescu, 4) Gica Craioveanu, 5) Bogdan Stelea, 6) Cosmin Contra, 7) Gheorghe Popescu, 8) Adrian Mutu, 9) Cristian Chivu, 10) Miodrag Belodedici.
-- IFFHS created their own Romania Dream team.  The lineup was as followed: Silviu Lung, Dan Petrescu, Cornel Dinu, Miodrag Belodedici, Cristian Chivu, Gheorghe Hagi, Gheorghe Popescu, Nicolae Dobrin, Ilie Balaci, Florea Dumitrache and Marius Lăcătuș.
-- Silviu Lung and Ion Voinescu were unquestionable choices for this team. However, the decision for the third goalkeeper position was not an easy one.  The extensive list included Mircea David, Vasile Iordache, Bogdan Lobonț, Bogdan Stelea, Necula Răducanu, and Ciprian Tătărușanu.
-- Duckadam might not be the third greatest goalkeeper from Romania.  However, Steaua București's European Cup victory was a historic moment for Romanian football. By saving all the penalties in the Final against Barcelona, he played a pivotal role in Steaua București's historic victory, elevating Romanian football to new heights.  Shortly after the memorable victory, his career took an unfortunate turn as he was diagnosed with a blood disease. He never completed in the highest level after the game.  I admitted his selection was controversial, but I was not the only one who proclaimed him one of the greatest Romanian goalkeeper of all-time.
-- Miodrag Belodedici helped Steaua become the first Eastern European club to win the  European Cup in 1985–86.  He joined Red Star Belgrade after he deflected to Yugoslavia in 1988.  Basically, he walked to the club house and announced himself. He became the only player to win the European Cup with two different East European team.  The Ceaușescu regime found him guilty of treason and sentenced him to ten years of prison in absentia; after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, all charges were dropped, and Belodedici returned to Bucharest.
-- Gheorghe Popescu is probably Romania's greatest defender.  He is the brother-in-law of Gheorghe Hagi.  The pair also played together at Barcelona and Galatasaray.  They won the 2000 UEFA Cup with the latter.  He was the Romanian Footballer of the Year: 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996.   Only Hagi has managed to win more of this award. 
-- Costica Stefanescu, although less recognized internationally, was widely regarded Romania's greatest defender.  As the captain of CS Universitatea Craiova, he led the team to the semi-finals of the 1982-83 UEFA Cup and the quarter-finals of the 1981-82 European Cup. His remarkable career saw him play a record-breaking 490 league games in Romania
Costica Stefanescu
-- Alexandru Apolzan was credited as the first player to play as a sweeper, but he was not well-known outside of Romania due to playing mainly in the 1950's.  He was on my original team, but I decided to go with Cornel Dinu.  Dinu was Romanian Player of the Year three times and I needed an extra defensive midfielder.
-- Dan Coe was also a strong candidate, but the central defenders ahead of them were too good.  He was murdered under a mysterious circumstances in 1981 after he left Romania. Daniel Prodan of the 1990's generation was also considered, but I put him on honorable mentions.
-- For rightback, Dan Petrescu was known for his stint with Chelsea.  He was one of the few Romanians to succeed in a top Western European league.  Cosmin Contra's international reputation perhaps was hurt by playing at the end of the Golden Generation. His spells with Milan and Atlético Madrid were also short.  In the end, he was rated one of the best in his position during his prime.  So it was impossible not to select him.  I also did not know how to rank Lajos Sătmăreanu who played mainly in the domestic league. He only made honorable mention.
-- I had too many central defenders.  So I put Christian Chivu as a leftback despite his reputation as one of Romania's greatest central defenders. Chivu's prime years saw him among the elite defenders in Europe.  I opted for Emerich Vogl over Nicolae Ungureanu. My primary reason for this choice was to include a player from the two World Cup Finals in the 1930s. However, it is possible that I may have made a mistake in my selection for the left-back positions, as other noteworthy candidates like Mircea Rednic from the 1980s and early 1990s were also considered.
-- Dorinel Munteanu holds the remarkable distinction of being the most capped player in Romania's history.  I needed more defensive-oriented midfielder.  So I added Ion Dumitru to the team in 2021.  He was the Romanian Footballer of the Year in 1973 and 1975.  He was a deep lying playmaker known for his long passes. Cornel Dinu usually played midfield for Dinamo Bucharest and sweeper for the national team.  He was the other defensive midfielder on this team.  But I had no room for deep lying playmaker Radu Nunweiller.
-- Gheorghe Hagi is a name that requires no introduction, given his immense impact and global recognition. On the other hand, Nicolae Dobrin and Ilie Balaci may not have enjoyed as much international exposure as Hagi, largely because they did not participate in major tournaments.  While Nicolae Dobrin was part of the Romanian squad for the 1970 World Cup Finals, he unfortunately did not have the opportunity to play.  Similarly, Ilie Balaci played a significant role in helping Romania qualify for the Euro 1984. However, an injury prevented him from participating in the tournament.
llie Balaci
-- AM Marcel Răducanu was a top player in the Bundesliga.  His international career was cut short after he deflected to the West in 1981.  He was a top player in the Bundesliga during the 1980's.  Perhaps, he was the first major Romanian who had an impact on club football in Western European. He was selected by the Kickers on the Team of Tournament for the 1982-1983 season. Unfortunately, Ilie Balaci, Nicolae Dobrin and Gheorghe Hagi were ahead of him.  He was one of the best players not selected.
-- László Bölöni was probably the best known central midfielder (box-to-box) in Romanian history.  He was an integral part of the Steaua București team that won the European Cup in 1986.  He was also known as the coach at Sporting Lisbon that gave Cristiano Ronaldo's debut in the first team.  He was credited for turning him into a wing forward.  He was of Hungarian ethnicity.  The FourFourTwo selected him as the 31st greatest Hungarian player, which meant a lot since Hungary produced many great footballers.
-- Nicolae Simatoc played for Inter Milan and Barcelona in the 1940's and 1950's.  Certainly, he was a good player since he played in those clubs at a time when Romanian players aboard was rare.  He was described as a right wing half and inside right.  However, he was not mentioned much as an all-timer.  So I put him on honorable mention for now.
-- József Pecsovszky was the first footballer to receive the title of Master of Sport. He was also the first Romanian footballer to be called to play for a World Team alongside the biggest names of football. He could play in most positions, but he was best known as an attack midfielder.  Ilie Balaci, Nicolae Dobrin and Gheorghe Hagi were ahead of him, but his versatility would be beneficial to the team.  So I added him to team after the 2021 review.
-- I did not have anyone who could play on the right. I put Ioan Sabău on honorable mention.  Marius Lacatus also played outside right at one point(see below).
 -- Adrian Ilie was underrated.  His career with Romania national team was overshadowed  by his teammates, but his club career took off with Valencia where he was a top striker in Spain.  Valencia was Champions League Runner-up twice (1999–2000, 2000–01) with him on the attack. The peak of his career was, however, cut short by injuries.   Ştefan Dobay was Romania's best player in the pre-War period.  He went to two World Cup Finals.  Both of them also played on the left.
-- Iuliu Bodola was Romania's all-time leading scorer before Gheorghe Hagi broke his record 58 years later. 
-- Florin Răducioiu, Ilie Dumitrescu and even Gheorghe Hagi did not play well in domestic club football outside Romania.  Hagi's only great stint was with Galatasaray.  Adrian Mutu, however, did relatively well, but his reputation was destroyed by his drug scandals.  He was named as the Romania Player of the Year four times.  I rewarded him with a place.
--Florea Dumitrache impressed in the 1970 World Cup Finals.  He earned a Ballon d'or nomination. He was Dinamo Bucharest's greatest ever player.
Florea Dumitrache 
-- Both Ilie Dumitrescu and Florin Răducioiu were on my original team I created in 2014.  I dropped both of them after the review in 2021.  They formed a frontline partnership with Gheorghe Hagi that helped Romania to reach the 1994 World Cup quarter final.  However, both failed to settle down with bigger clubs in Western Europe.  Besides, my original team was loaded with forwards and strikers.  So I replaced them with Ion Dumitru and Cosmin Contra.
-- Marius Lacatus lost his position to Mutu, who had a better club record outside Romania. He was a highly rated player heading to the 1990 World Cup Finals, but he failed to shine in Italy.  He only made honorable mention.  For me, he was the best known player not selected. Victor Pițurcă and Viorel Moldova did not have as much of a storied career.
-- 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.  On the other hand, Ion Pârcălab got his chance to showcase his talents in an era where Romanian players were not allowed to leave. He helped Nîmes Olympique to finish second in the French league. But he only made honrorable mention.  
-- I did not know how to rank István Avar.  He went too far back in history.  So I put him on honor mentions.
-- Iuliu Baratky was highly rated, but who should I drop for him? Adrian Ilie might have least respect from the sources I found on the internet.  However, I did enjoy his performance with Valencia.  

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 team must field all three of them.  Mutu could start as well.


  1. Lung
    Dinu Popescu Ștefănescu Chivu
    Dimitru Munteanu
    Dobrin Hagi
    Dumitrache Mutu

    Dinu and Chivu are somewhat improvised sides but the positions fit their skill sets.
    Munteanu's 49 assists in 198 bundesliga games are undeniable. He takes the center left over Bölöni. Dimitru was a center right.
    Footage of Balaci I found unconvincing. He is spectacular yet ineffective. He also has only two years of inclusion in the top 5 of Romania's best players.

  2. You can't make a Romania 23 and not have Dudu Georgescu

    Georgescu is the 2nd best Romanian player in history after Hagi (at least in attacking area, cause defensively Belodedici might be above).

    Romanian team starts with Hagi, Dudu Georgescu from midfield up. Georgescu placed top 10 at Ballon d'or during the time of Beckenbauer, Cruyff, Neeskens, Breitner, Gunter Netzer, Gerd Muller, Blokhin etc. A wonderful performance. Twice. Dobrin and Balaci did not make top 30 at Ballon d'Or.