Former Romania midfield player Gheorghe Hagi has returned to Galatasaray SK to replace Fatih Terim as coach.
Ironically, Hagi played under Terim during his successful spell with the Istanbul club between 1996 and 2000, which culminated in their UEFA Cup triumph in his final year. Galatasaray president Özhan Canaydin moved quickly to appoint Hagi after Terim's resignation earlier this month.
'Have to unite'
"I am honoured to be the coach of a team like Galatasaray," the new coach said. "Any team can fall on hard times. We have to accept this but also we should work to create a big team. However, I cannot do this alone, we have to unite.
Ambition and discipline
"Everyone should know that trophies are won when people are united. I have come here to do my best. I like ambition and discipline.
I want to work with players who are truly professional and share these principles."
Back in Turkey
The 39-year-old actually started the season coaching in Turkish football, although his spell in charge of Bursaspor ended in November following a string of poor results. It is thought that Hagi's arrival will see established players like Bülent Korkmaz, Arif Erdem, Hakan Ünsal and Elvir Baljic return to the first team after being dropped by Terim.
Hagi, who played in three FIFA World Cups and three UEFA European Championships, was named Romania's 'golden player' by his national association as part of UEFA's Jubilee celebrations. Capped 125 times, he enjoyed a long career that included spells with FC Steaua Bucuresti, Real Madrid CF, Brescia Calcio and FC Barcelona. He began his coaching career with Romania in June 2001 but lasted only five months. He returned to football 18 months later with his appointment by Bursaspor in June 2003.
He faces a tricky task with Galatasaray after an unsuccessful season that has brought elimination from the UEFA Champions League at the group stage and a subsequent third-round exit from the UEFA Cup. The club's hopes of qualifying for this season's UEFA Cup have dwindled after two successive defeats which have left them sixth, nine points behind third-placed Trabzonspor. Hagi's first man in charge will be away to Samsunspor on Friday.
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