In 1997 Stelea was transferred to UD Salamanca, where he lived his most steady period, remaining with the team seven years, only puncutated by a small loan spell with Rapid. He amassed over 200 overall appearances for the club, mainly in the second division, but spent his first two seasons in the top flight, playing 63 matches.
After a second spell with Dinamo, Stelea started 2005–06 with Greek side Akratitos FC. Unsettled again, he returned to Romania with FC Oţelul Galaţi, but didn't play any matches there because of a bad injury. The following season he moved to FC Unirea Urziceni at the recommendation of new coach and former national teammate Dan Petrescu, where he eventually became first-choice; in the 2007–08 season, at the age of 40, was still one of the best goalkeepers in the country.
Stelea finally ended his long career at the end of the 2008–09 season, helping modest FC Braşov to a comfortable 9th place in the top division. He was almost 42 years of age.
After two years spent as assistant manager for Răzvan Lucescu, at the national team, Stelea became head coach at Astra Ploiești, in 2012. On 10 August, however, after a home draw against CS Turnu Severin, he was sacked from his post. In 2013, he returned at the Romanian Federation, but this time he became manager of the U-21 squad.