Renowned Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu turns 70
Romanian football coach Mircea Lucescu turned 70 on Wednesday.
Mircea Lucescu, born on July 29, 1945, in Bucharest, has started his soccer player career in 1961, at the Sports School no. 2 in Bucharest. Two years later, he was transferred to Dinamo Bucharest, Agerpres informs.
From 1965 to 1967, he played for Sportul Studentesc, after which he returned to Dinamo until 1977. With this team he achieved the most significant successes as a player: five titles of Romania’s champion (1964-1965, 1970-1971, 1971-1972, 1974-1975 and 1976-1977) and one Romanian Cup (1967-1968).
A true right winger, Lucescu was recognized by 70 selections in the national team; he was its captain at the World Championship tournament in Mexico in 1970.
He closed his football player career at Corvinul Hunedoara (1977-1982), and at the same time he started his coaching activity. From the fall of 1981 until 1986, Lucescu has coached Romania’s national team, which he qualified to Euro ’84. He went on with Dinamo Bucharest, which brought him a national title (1989-1990) and two Romanian Cups (1985-1986 and 1989-1990) and a qualification to the semi-finals of the Cup Winners Cup (1990).
In the summer of 1990 he took off for Italy, to coach the Pisa, Brescia and Reggiana.
Back to Romania in 1997, he coached Rapid Bucharest and won the Romanian Cup in 1998.
On November 30, 1998, he became the main coach of Italy’s famous Internazionale Milano, only to be sacked a few months later (in March 1999). He returned to Rapid Bucharest and made it again, taking the 1998-1999 championship.
From the summer of 2000 until 2002, Lucescu coached Galatasaray Istanbul, winner of the European Supercup (2000) and of Turkey’s championship (2002). In the summer of 2002, he moved to Beshiktas; his second Turkish team was champion the same year and went as high as the UEFA Cup quarterfinals.
On May 16, 2004 he began his ongoing feat with Ukraine’s Shakthar Donetsk, which he turned into a reputable European team. Under Lucescu, Shakthar won the national championship eight times (2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), the Ukrainian Cup four times (2004, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013) and seven Supercups (2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). The peak was the last UEFA Cup in 2009, before this competition was restyled as UEFA Europa league. Shakhtar defeated Werder Bremen 2-1 in the final. In 2013, Lucescu became the longest-serving coach in the history of the club, and in 2014 he was designated for the 8th time the best coach in Ukraine.
On May 22, 2009, Romanian President Traian Basescu bestowed upon Mircea Lucescu the National Order ‘Romania Cross’ in rank of Knight, “as a sign of high appreciation of his entire soccer activity and coaching performances, crowned by the winning of the UEFA Cup 2009, in the final in Istanbul.”
In 2010, following a research that involved the first league soccer clubs of Ukraine and their fans, Lucescu was designated the best coach in Ukraine. In 2010 too, he was amongst the top 100 coaches of the world (ranking 41) of the first decade of the 21st century (2001-2010), according to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).
On January 18, 2013, he received alongside other coaches the honorary citizen title of Hunedoara.
In a ranking of the best coaches from 1996 to 2012, released in February 2013 by the IFFHS, Mircea Lucescu and his long-time rival Anghel Iordanescu were both placed 51st.
In 2013, Lucescu was 16th among the world top 20 coaches, thanks to his performances with Shakthar Donetsk, according the US Bleacher Report sports website.
In 2014, the General Assembly of the Romanian Football Federation awarded him the FRF honorary member title.