Uploaded on Aug 20, 2008
One of the greatest players of all time
He started his career playing for the youth teams of Farul Constanţa in the 1970s, before being selected by the Romanian Football Federation to join the squad of Luceafărul Bucureşti in 1980 for two years. In 1982 he returned to Constanţa, 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 Studenţesc of Bucharest instead.
In the winter of 1987 Hagi was transferred to Steaua Bucureşti as the team prepared their European Super Cup final against FC Dynamo Kyiv. The original contract was for one game only, the final. However after winning the trophy, Hagi scoring the only goal of the final, Steaua did not want to release him back to Sportul Studenţesc and retained him for the next years. During his Steaua years, (1987 - 1990), Hagi played 97 Liga I games, scoring 76 goals. He and the team reached the European Cup semifinal in 1988 and the final in the following year, champions of Romania in 1987, 1988 and 1989 and winning the Romania Cup in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
After the 1990 WC, he was signed by Real Madrid. The La Liga side paid $4.3 million to Steaua for him. Hagi played two seasons with Real Madrid and then was sold to Brescia Calcio.
Hagi helped Brescia Calcio win the Italian Serie B and get promoted to Serie A, but in the next season the club relegated back to Serie B and Hagi left the club to play for FC Barcelona.
After two years at FC Barcelona, Hagi signed for Galatasaray S.K.. He was both successful and highly popular among the Turkish supporters of the Istanbul side. Hagi and manager Fatih Terim built a team that would win four league titles, two domestic cups, the UEFA Cup after defeating Arsenal and then the European Super Cup after a final with Hagi's former club, Real Madrid.
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 WC, where the team reached the quarterfinals. Hagi scored three times in the tournament. 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.
Four years later, after the 1998 WC, Hagi decided to retire from the national team, only to change his mind after few months and play at the 2000 European Football Championship.
Hagi retired from professional football in 2001, age 36.
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