FC Dinamo București forward Ionel Dănciulescu has set a new benchmark for appearances in the Romanian First Division after contesting his 491st league game against CS Gaz Metan Mediaș on Saturday.
Negotiating all 90 minutes of the 2-2 draw, the 35-year-old thus surpassed the record of 490 top-tier outings set by former Romania captain Costică Ștefănescu, who retired in 1988. On course to break the 500-match barrier, Dănciulescu is also the second highest scorer in the history of the Romanian elite, his tally of 210 goals leaving him 42 shy of only Dudu Georgescu. Meanwhile, he has struck 20 times in 62 UEFA club competition matches and twice in his eight games for Romania.
"I've never chased records because that would have become an obsession and obsessions produce negative energy," Dănciulescu explained recently. "And I don't regret not playing more matches for the national team because the competition was very strong with players who played at big clubs."
His own club career started at FC Electroputere Craiova between 1993 and 1995, after which he began the first of three stints for Dinamo, with whom he has won a trio of league titles and three Romanian Cups. He also picked up two championship crowns and a Romanian Cup while playing for Dinamo's arch-rivals FC Steaua Bucureşti from 1998 to 2001, and has had three brief spells overseas – with Altay S.K. in Turkey, Chinese side Shandong Luneng Taishan FC and Hércules CF in Spain.
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