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'Red Dog' Nunweiller mourned in Romania

FC Dinamo Bucureşti stalwart Ion Nunweiller, who won league titles as a player in both Romania and Turkey before becoming a coach, has died at the age of 79.

Former Romania defender Ion Nunweiller served Dinamo as player, coach and adviser
Former Romania defender Ion Nunweiller served Dinamo as player, coach and adviser ©FRF

Romanian football is mourning the passing of Ion Nunweiller, a league championship winner as both a player and a coach with FC Dinamo Bucureşti, the club to whom he also lent the nickname Red Dogs.

Nunweiller, who died at the age of 79, was one of the great figures in the history of Dinamo Bucureşti. He joined the capital outfit aged 15 in 1951 and over the course of two spells (1956–68 and 1970–72) made a total of 279 league appearances, scoring 19 goals. His qualities as a 40-cap Romanian international defender helped Dinamo to lift five league titles and three Romanian Cups. Later Nunweiller would become a successful Dinamo coach, winning three championships on his watch.

The Bucharest side also owe their 'Câinii roșii' or Red Dogs moniker to Nunweiller, who along with his brother and fellow Dinamo stalwart Lică, had earned the sobriquet because of his red hair and, in the heat of battle, committed red face.

A veteran of 26 European club competition matches with Dinamo, the defender had the further distinction of being the first notable Romanian player to be permitted by the Communist regime to play abroad, at Fenerbahçe SK (1968–1970). In Istanbul he landed a league title and a Turkish Cup, being voted best foreign player in 1969/70.

Besides his subsequent managerial triumphs at Dinamo, he led FC Ceahlăul Piatra Neamţ to top-flight promotion among other coaching assignments. Between 1996 and 1998 he was head coach of the Romanian women's national team, before retiring in 1999. Latterly he acted as an adviser at his beloved Dinamo.