Gheorghe Hagi has resigned as coach of Romanian UEFA Champions League contenders FC Steaua Bucureşti after just three months in charge.
The 42-year-old, regarded as the best player in Romanian history, announced his decision to Steaua executive president Valeriu Argaseala today following a series of disagreements with the club's owner George Becali. Becali had criticised Hagi's team selections, blamed him for poor results and threatened to sack him for defying orders.
Too much pressure
"I could not stand the pressure which has been created around the team," said Hagi. "I cannot describe how this pressure has been. It felt like I was being tortured and I am very disappointed. I took this decision before the match in Prague, but I could not leave the boys alone ahead such an important match."
Steaua lost their opening UEFA Champions League group stage fixture 2-1 at SK Slavia Praha on Wednesday night. Hagi successfully led his side to the group stage but has earned criticism for their form in LIGA I. Steaua currently boast the best defence in the championship, with just two goals conceded in six games, but have scored just four times.
Becali said: "I wanted to make Hagi a big coach and my biggest regret is that I did not manage this. The only coach who can replace him at Steaua is Cosmin Olaroiu, who is like a little brother to me. I have not called him yet, but I will do and he will pick up the phone immediately." Olaroiu stepped down as Steaua coach in the summer and signed a contract with Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal. For the moment, Hagi's Italian assistant Massimo Pedrazzini will be in charge of the first team.
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