Hagi returns with Bursaspor role

Gheorghe Hagi has ended an 18-month break from the game by agreeing to coach Turkish club Bursaspor.

Presidential agreement
Presidential candidate Fikret Üstenci made an agreement with Hagi that the former Galatasaray SK player would become coach in the event of his election and with Üstenci now installed as president Hagi's role has become official. The 38-year-old takes over a club looking to improve on last season's performance, when they finished 15th in the Super League, only avoiding relegation by a single point on the last day of the season.

Four signings
Hagi's first act was to sign four Romanian players - FC National Bucuresti goalkeeper Bogdan Vintila and left-winger Çornel Frasineanu, FCM Bacau defender Ialian Miu and VfB Stuttgart forward Ioan Ganea. All have agreed three-year contracts. The new coach will take over officially on 1 July.

Long career
Having shone for the Romanian national team and played in Spain for Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona, Hagi joined Galatasaray SK in 1996 and remained a popular player until his retirement five years later, winning the Turkish title in his first four seasons with the club and the 1999/00 UEFA Cup.

Century of caps
He played 550 domestic games in his career, and was capped 125 times, 65 as captain. He briefly went on to coach the Romanian national team but stepped down after they missed out on a place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals.

'Time to return'
On his return to Turkey, Hagi said: "It is time to return to active football. In a way, I am going back home to Turkey. I played there for five years. I know Turkish football very well, and it is making great progress. The people love me, I will be happy again there."

'I am thrilled'
Hagi is looking forward to his new task despite the local dominance of Besiktas JK and Galatasaray. He said: "I am thrilled and looking forward to playing against Besiktas, coached by my compatriot Mircea Lucescu, who was also my coach, and against Galatasaray, where the coach is also one of my former coaches, Fatih Terim."