Former Romania captain Gheorghe Hagi has begun work today at FC Steaua Bucuresti after the departure of Cosmin Olaroiu to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal.
Steaua president George Becali announced the surprise development on Saturday explaining that he felt compelled to stand aside and allow Olaroiu to take up a lucrative contract in Saudi Arabia. "I could not oppose Olaroiu's departure when I saw the salary he stood to earn," said Becali. "I immediately began negotiations with Hagi, who has become Steaua's new head coach. We have agreed terms and he will begin on Monday."
Olaroiu, 38, had been at the helm at Steaua since 2006 and guided the capital club to the league title, the Romanian Super Cup and the UEFA Cup semi-finals during his first season in charge. In 2006/07 Steaua finished runners-up in the league and reached the last 32 of the UEFA Cup after coming third in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Hagi is Romania's greatest ever player, winning 125 caps and scoring a record 35 international goals. The 42-year-old held the post of national-team coach for five months in 2001 before similarly short-lived stints at Bursaspor (2003), Galatasaray SK (2004-2005) and FCU Politehnica Timisoara (2006). Silverware has so far been limited to a Turkish Cup victory with Galatasaray but Hagi will be looking to improve on that record by targeting both the Romanian title and qualification for the UEFA Champions League group stage.
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