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banner Monday, 26 November, 2001, 15:09 GMT
Hagi leaves Romania post
Gheorghe Hagi contemplates his future after Romania's defeat to Slovenia
Hagi contemplates his future after defeat to Slovenia
Gheorghe Hagi has resigned as Romania's coach after their failure to qualify for the World Cup finals.

Hagi decided to step down after Slovenia beat Romania 3-2 on aggregate in a two-legged play-off.

Hagi took over in June following Ladislau Boloni's defection to club football with Portguguese side Sporting Lisbon.

The end of Hagi's six-month reign follows a dispute over his status with the Romanian Football Federation (FRF).

Immediately following the play-off defeat Hagi took responsibility and pledged to stay on and rebuild the team.

I thought twice about it and decided that it is better to give up
Gheorghe Hagi

But he had a change of heart after failing to gain the full backing of the FRF.

On a television show, FRF president Mircea Sandu claimed that Hagi had demanded assurances that he would not be sacked if the team did badly.

Hagi said: "I thought twice about it and decided that it is better to give up."

  Gheorghe Hagi's career
1965: Born 6 February in Sacele.
1982: First-team debut for Fanul Constanta.
1983: Full international debut v Norway.
1990: Joins Real Madrid.
1992: Moves to Italy as captain of Brescia.
1994: Inspires Romania to World Cup quarter-finals.
1995: Joins Barcelona but does not settle.
1996: Joins Galatasaray, wins four Turkish titles.
1999: Named Romanian player of the century.
2000: Last game for Romania, ends international career with 125 caps and 35 goals.
2001: Named Romanian coach in June.

"I don't have any regrets apart from failing to qualify for the World Cup.

"It's better to take this decision right now to give the Federation time to find a replacement for me," added Hagi.

Hagi enjoyed legendary status in Romania where he spearheaded the 'Golden Generation' of players who qualified for the last three World Cups and two European Championships.

He rejoiced in the title of 'The Maradona of the Carpathians' and in 1994 almost single-handedly led Romania to the last eight of the World Cup in the USA.

His international career spanned 17 years, during which he won 125 caps and scored 35 goals.

But his reputation as a player did not save him from the media who criticised his tactical naievety following Romania's World Cup exit.

BBC Sport's Rosie O'Donoghue
"Hagi had only been manager for six months"
See also:

14 Nov 01 |  World Cup 2002
Slovenia book World Cup place
15 Nov 01 |  World Cup 2002
Slovenia in wonderland
Other top World Cup 2002 stories:

Links to more World Cup 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


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