Gheorghe "Gică" Hagi (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈɡe̯orɡe ˈhad͡ʒi]; born 5 February 1965) is a Romanian former footballer, considered one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe during the 1980s and 1990s and the greatest Romanian footballer of all time. Galatasaray fans called him Comandante (The Commander) and Romanians call 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. As a creative advanced playmaker, he was renowned for his dribbling, technique, vision, passing and finishing.
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. In 2004, he was named by Pelé as one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony. 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. His son Ianis is also a footballer.Close