CFR Cluj

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CFR Cluj
CFR Cluj's emblem
Full name Fotbal Club CFR 1907 Cluj
Nickname(s) The Railwaymen
The White-Burgundies
Founded 1907
Ground Dr. Constantin Rădulescu
Ground Capacity 23,500[1]
Owner Árpád Pászkány
President Iuliu Mureșan
Manager Vasile Miriuță
League Liga I
2012–13 Liga I, 9th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season

CFR Cluj (Romanian pronunciation: [t͡ʃefeˌre ˈkluʒ]) is a Romanian professional football club from the city of Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania, Romania ('CFR' stands for Căile Ferate Române, meaning Romanian Railways).[2] The club had spent most of their existence in the lower divisions, except for a spell in Divizia A in the 1970s, until they received significant financial backing from the current owner in 2002. CFR Cluj returned to the top flight in 2004 and the following season took part in their first UEFA competition, the Intertoto Cup, finishing as runners-up. In 2007–08, CFR Cluj were champions of Liga I for the first time in their history, taking the title away from the teams of Bucharest for the first time in 17 years and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stages in the process, six years after having been in the Liga III, the third tier of Romanian league football.[3] CFR Cluj started the 2008–09 UEFA Champions League with an unexpected win against Roma, followed by a draw against the previous season's Champions League finalists, Chelsea. The team has set a record since their major ownership change in 2002, having managed to win eight trophies: the Liga I championship (three times), the Romanian Cup (three times), and the Romanian Supercup (twice).

The club has a fierce rivalry with Universitatea Cluj, also from Cluj-Napoca. Matches between the two clubs are known as the Derby of Cluj.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The club in 1911

The club was founded in 1907, when the city of Cluj-Napoca was part of Austro-Hungarian Empire, under the name Cluj Railway Sports Club (Kolozsvári Vasutas Sport Club). From 1907 to 1910, the team played in the municipal championship. However, the club did not have any notable achievements during this time. In 1911, the team won the newly organized Championship of Transylvania. The club consistently finished in second place in that competition between 1911 and 1914, a competition that was interrupted because of World War I. After the war, in 1918, Transylvania became part of Romania and the club accordingly changed its name to CFR Cluj, maintaining its links with the national rail organisation, this time the Romanian state railway carrier, Căile Ferate Române, hence the CFR acronym. They went on to win two regional titles, in 1918–19 and 1919–20.

Between 1920 and 1934 the club did not have any notable achievements. Between 1934 and 1936, CFR played for two seasons in the Divizia B, ranking sixth in the 1934–35 season and eighth in the 1935–36 season. In 1936, CFR was relegated to the Divizia C, where the team played for two seasons, finishing second and 4th, respectively. After World War II, CFR played for one season in the Divizia C, earning the promotion to the Divizia B. Before the start of the 1947–48 season, the team merged with another local club, Ferar Cluj, and played in the Divizia A for the very first time in history. Unfortunately, the team lasted only two years in the first league and would not play there again for another 20 years. In 1960, another merger, this time with Rapid Cluj resulted in CSM Cluj. In 1964, the team's name was changed to Clujeana. In that same year, the club's junior team won the national championship. Three years later, the team's name was reversed yet again to CFR Cluj.

1969–1976[edit]

In 1969, CFR finished first in Divizia B with 40 points, five more than their rival, Politehnica Timişoara. The conclusive game of that season was a 1–1 draw with Politehnica. Politehnica had a 1–0 lead at half-time, but CFR came back with a fine header.

During the summer of 1969, CFR Cluj advanced to Divizia A under the leadership of coach Dr. Constantin Rădulescu. Rădulescu was originally from southern Romania, but he grew to manhood in the stern atmosphere of Transylvania. Before coaching, he had played for CFR and another well-known local team, Universitatea Cluj, during the 1940s. In the 1969–70 first league championship, CFR made its debut with a 2–0 victory over ASA Târgu Mureş. The next few games did not go as well. Apart from a 1–0 win over Politehnica Iaşi, there were losses to Steaua Bucureşti (1–3) and Dinamo Bucureşti (0–2). These and other defeats were a factor in the team's downhill slide. However, the following spring CFR bounced back with a win over ASA Târgu Mureş (1–0), after a goal from Octavian Ionescu, and managed to avert relegation.

At the beginning of CFR's second season in Divizia A, Rădulescu was replaced by Eugen Iordache as head coach. During his tenure, CFR did not do well, and Rădulescu was swiftly brought back. Even so, CFR Cluj found itself again at the bottom of the table before the winter break. The spring of 1971 was somewhat better, although CFR struggled again to avoid relegation. CFR's last game of that season, against UTA Arad, was a memorable one. CFR led 1–0 at half-time. UTA Arad, however, managed to overturn the match after scoring twice. Nonetheless, the persistence of the players from Cluj was rewarded with a late goal, tying the game at 2–2. UTA went on to play in the European Cups, but, most importantly, CFR avoided relegation.

The 1971–72 season started off badly for CFR. Losses to Dinamo Bucureşti (1–3); Crişul Oradea (0–1, after a last-minute penalty kick), and Jiul Petroşani (1–2 after two regrettable own-goals) meant CFR's demise after the first round of the championship — the team finished at the bottom, with seven points. CFR's return was dramatic, although inconsistent at times. The team won some important games, such as a 1–0 with Universitatea Craiova and a 3–0 with Petrolul Ploieşti. By the end of the season, however, CFR was again struggling to stay in Divizia A. CFR was tied at half-time after having led with 2–0 in their game against Politehnica Iaşi. In the second half, two late goals from Ionescu and Petrescu saved the team from relegation. When Rădulescu and his players got back home to Cluj, 3,000 fans turned out to celebrate their performance.

During the summer of 1972, CFR made an important transfer. Mihai Adam, from Universitatea Cluj, was traded for Soos. Adam had been twice Romania's top scorer, and was considered one of the best Romanian players of his generation. He and the rest of the team would make the 1972–73 season the most successful in CFR's history. The team achieved its highest ranking ever in Romanian football, fifth in Divizia A. Several important results concluded a great season, including a 2–0 victory against Rapid Bucureşti, a 2–2 draw against Sportul Studenţesc Bucureşti, and another draw, 1–1, with Steaua Bucureşti. Additionally, the stadium that CFR continues to use even today was built in 1973. To celebrate the completion of the stadium, CFR Cluj played a friendly game against Cuba. The game ended in a 2–1 victory for CFR.

The 1973–74 season was a rather bad one for CFR, as it barely saved itself from relegation, ranking 14th at the end of the season. The only notable achievement of that season was Mihai Adam's third title as Romania's top goal-scorer who, even though he was 33 years old, scored 23 goals. The 1974–75 season was much like the one before: CFR struggled to avoid relegation, achieving its objectives all the while. The 1975–76 season marked CFR's relegation and its last season in Divizia A during the 20th century. A contributing factor was the age of the team, with most of its players in their 30s.

1976–2002[edit]

During the 1977–78 season, CFR attempted a comeback. However, the team managed to finish only second in Divizia B, after Baia Mare. Four years later, CFR slid further down, into the third division, Divizia C. From then on, the team would alternate between the second and third leagues. In 1983, CFR played in Divizia B under its longstanding coach, Dr. Constantin Rădulescu. In the 1990s, CFR struggled financially and found itself more than once on the brink of bankruptcy. Nevertheless, several very talented players were raised, including Cristian Dulca, Attila Piroşka, Cristian Coroian, and Alin Minteuan.

2002–2005[edit]

In January 2002, a new sponsor, Árpád Pászkány, head of S.C. ECOMAX M.G., founded a new commercial sport society, with ECOMAX M.G. as the primary shareholder. By the end of the 2001–02 season, CFR had been promoted back to Divizia B.

The summer of 2003 was very important for CFR as many new talented players were transferred, among them being Cătălin Bozdog, Adrian Anca, Cristian Turcu, and Sabin Pîglişan. With these players and others, CFR managed to enter the first league after a successful season in Divizia B. CFR began the season strongly, holding first place for a while. Then the club's main sponsor, Árpád Pászkány, became involved in a public scandal, in which Pászkány accused several referees of corruption. This conundrum plagued the team and resulted in head coach GH. Cioceri's dismissal. CFR lost several consecutive games before the scandal faded away. After the winter break, GH. Cioceri was replaced by Aurel Sunda. In the spring of 2004, Sunda's team had a nearly perfect run, winning 14 out of 15 games, with only one draw. One round before the season's end, CFR was one point behind the Jiul Petroşani, which was in first place. All this changed when Jiul was held to a draw by Gaz Metan Mediaş. This, along with CFR's 3–0 victory, was one of the most crucial moments for the club in the 21st century. The CFR Cluj advanced to the top league for the first time in 28 years. In the summer of 2004, CFR acquired many new players, including Vasile Jula and Radu Marginean.

CFR Cluj's first year back in Divizia A was strong, yet inconsistent. CFR finished sixth after the first half of the 2004–05 championship. It was during this time that CFR played one of its most popular games ever, defeating, Dinamo Bucureşti at home. The final score was 4–2, after four goals by Adrian Anca and Sorin Oncică, two goals each. However, the second half of the championship proved disappointing for CFR, as it gathered only 12 points after 15 games. The team finished 11th, though, avoiding relegation.

2005–2007[edit]

The summer of 2005 brought significant change to CFR Cluj. The club's executives signed the team up for the UEFA Intertoto Cup, being CFR's first European adventure. CFR began well, qualifying for the second round after two victories against FK Vetra (3–2 and 4–1).

Also, the Romanian international Dorinel Munteanu came to CFR from Steaua Bucureşti. Munteanu would have the dual role of player-coach. His first game produced one of CFR's greatest successes. CFR defeated Athletic Bilbao of Spain 1–0 (although almost all players from Bilbao's side were from the reserve squad) during the second round of the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup. The only goal of the match was scored by Cosmin Tilincă with a header. CFR then lost in the city Bilbao (1–0) but still qualified to the next round after a penalty shootout.

Munteanu's team played the next game at Cluj, against French club Saint-Étienne. Adrian Anca played one of the greatest games in his career, even though the match ended in a 1–1 draw. Anca hit the crossbar with a header early in the game, and Tilincă pushed the ball into the net from the rebound. Anca then went on to earn a penalty, but did not score. He then hit the crossbar a second time, in the second half. The away game, in France, was also an eventful game for CFR Cluj. The game ended in a 2–2 draw, so CFR went on to the next qualifying stage due to its away goals. The game began well for CFR, as Cristian Coroian scored from a penalty kick, earned by Adrian Anca. The second half went less smoothly for CFR. Julien Sable managed to score for Saint-Étienne, tying the game at 1–1. This was followed by CFR player László Balint's elimination. However, a Cosmin Tilincă goal gave the team the ability to tie with the French at the very last minute. In the next round, CFR easily disposed of Zalgiris Vilnius, 2–1 in Lithuania and 5–1 at home.

For the final match of the 2005 UEFA Interoto Cup, CFR Cluj's opponent was another French franchise, RC Lens. The first game, at Cluj, ended in a 1–1 draw, with both sides having scored from free kicks. Cristian Turcu scored for CFR. The second game was played at Lens, in front of 30,000 French fans. The Romanian players showed signs of exhaustion and conceded three goals. Player-coach Dorinel Munteanu managed to regain some honour for his team with a goal from a free kick in the 89th minute. Thus ended CFR Cluj's Intertoto journey. CFR then finished fifth at the end of the 2005–06 domestic season. During the 2006–07 season, major changes at the club started to occur. Dorinel Munteanu resigned as player-coach, and was replaced by Cristiano Bergodi. Foreign players from Western Europe and South America were transferred. A partnership with Portuguese giants Sport Lisboa e Benfica was signed. On 22 July 2007, CFR Cluj celebrated its centenary year by playing a friendly game against Benfica and inaugurating the new illumination system at its stadium.

2007–present[edit]

CFR Cluj at Stamford Bridge in 2008

The team's new coach, Romanian Ioan Andone, formerly of Omonia Nicosia and Dinamo Bucureşti started the 2007–08 season well, with CFR Cluj leading the league by eight points halfway through the season and remaining undefeated. Their form was not as good in the second half of the season, and they were overtaken by Steaua Bucureşti with two games remaining. Even though Steaua clashed Gloria Buzau 5–0 in the last matchday, it wasn't enough to bring the title in Ghencea, since CFR won against Universitatea Cluj so the CFR won the title. It was the first team outside of Bucharest to win the title in nearly two decades.[4] Three days later, CFR Cluj completed a league and cup double, beating Unirea Urziceni in the Romanian Cup final.

By winning the league, CFR Cluj qualified for the group stage of the 2008–09 UEFA Champions League season. They were drawn in Group A against Chelsea of England, A.S. Roma of Italy, and Bordeaux of France and given little chance of progressing, with odds of 300–1 being given on them winning the competition.[5] In their opening game, CFR caused a shock by beating Roma in the Italian capital, 2–1,[6] and further exceeded expectations by holding the previous season's finalists Chelsea to a 0–0 draw.[7]

The end of the 2008–09 season saw CFR finish fourth, the team had two coaching staff changes in the second part of the competition and did not manage to secure a second title. The Romanian Cup was kept for a consecutive year at Cluj, and with this the CFR ended the year in high spirits.

In the 2009–10 season, the team managed to win the league title for the second time in its history, exhibiting the heavy investments in the club's infrastructure, management, and squad transfers. Managed by coach Andrea Mandorlini, CFR Cluj also kept the Romanian Cup and qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage.

The 2011–12 season brought the league title to Cluj for the third time. Starting under Jorge Costa's supervision, the team maintained a spot in the top three. A few major defeats close to the end of the season prompted Costa to be replaced by Ioan Andone. After this managerial change the team tackled all remaining matches with wins and one draw, results which contributed to yet another trophy. Later that year, FC Dinamo București defeated CFR Cluj in the Romanian Supercup with 6–4 after penalties, handing them their first defeat in a final.

Stadium[edit]

Constantin Rădulescu stadium

CFR Cluj plays their home games at Dr. Constantin Rădulescu Stadium, which was expanded in 2008 to seat a maximum capacity of 23,500. The CFR stadium meets all of UEFA's regulations and can host UEFA Champions League matches. In 2006–07, with an investment of €10 million, the club upgraded the field with higher quality turf, built a state of the art lighting system, and updated its infrastructure. All the work was completed for the 100th birthday of the club, when the first official friendly game was played against Sport Lisboa e Benfica of Portugal.

Rivalries[edit]

CFR have a rivalry with their local city opponents Universitatea Cluj. The animosity between the teams is one of the oldest in Romanian and European football. The first incidents between fans of the two sides occurred in the 1920s. A particularly violent episode took place during a derby played in 1924, when the stadium had to be evacuated because of a large-scale fight between supporters. CFR lost the match 2–1. Other episodes of this rivalry are: in 2005, upset that Universitatea was relegated in Divizia C, "U" fans injured CFR's players at Sport Hotel of Cluj-Napoca; in 2007, a CFR supporter was killed by 15 Universitatea's ultras.[8]

IFFHS rankings[edit]

Club world ranking[edit]

These are the IFFHS club's points as of 1 March 2013:[9]

Rank Team Points
25 England Liverpool 200.0
26 Czech Republic Viktoria Plzeň 193.5
27 Spain Valencia 193.0
28 Germany Hannover 96 192.0
29 Romania CFR Cluj 191.5
30 Belgium Genk 190.0
30 France Bordeaux 190.0
30 Spain Málaga 190.0
30 South Korea Ulsan Hyundai 190.0

UEFA rankings[edit]

Club coefficients[edit]

This is the current 2012–13 UEFA coefficient:[10]

Rank Team Coefficient
63 Romania Steaua București 35.604
64 Cyprus APOEL F.C. 35.366
65 Spain Málaga 35.176
66 Turkey Beşiktaş 34.380
67 Romania CFR Cluj 30.604
68 Spain Levante 30.176
69 Israel Hapoel Tel Aviv 29.575
70 Czech Republic Sparta Prague 29.195
71 Greece P.A.O.K. 28.800

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

European[edit]

European record[edit]

Competition S P W D L GF GA GD
UEFA Champions League / European Cup 3 24 11 3 10 32 32 0
UEFA Europa League / UEFA Cup 3 12 2 2 8 8 20 −12
UEFA Intertoto Cup 1 10 5 3 2 20 13 +7
Total 7 46 18 8 20 60 65 −5

Domestic record[edit]

Liga I[edit]

Season Position Wins Draws Losses Goals Points
1947–48 8 9 10 11 48–42 28
1948–49 11 9 5 12 39–67 23
1969–70 14 10 7 13 29–45 27
1970–71 14 9 8 13 37–52 26
1971–72 13 9 7 14 27–37 25
1972–73 5 11 11 8 33–33 33
1973–74 14 11 9 14 40–53 31
1974–75 15 11 10 13 26–34 32
1975–76 17 9 10 15 30–39 28
2004–05 11 9 9 12 33–44 36
2005–06 5 14 8 8 36–27 50
2006–07 3 21 6 7 59–32 69
2007–08 1 23 7 4 52–22 76
2008–09 4 16 11 7 44–26 59
2009–10 1 20 9 5 43–21 69
2010–11 10 11 12 11 50–45 45
2011–12 1 21 8 5 63–31 71
2012-13 9 12 13 9 56-39 49

Records[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 24 February 2014

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Portugal GK Mário Felgueiras
2 Spain DF Javier Velayos
7 Romania MF Ciprian Deac
8 Algeria MF Najib Ammari
9 Georgia (country) FW Giorgi Chanturia
10 Romania FW Florin Costea
11 France FW Robert Maah
12 Romania DF Vasile Maftei
13 Italy DF Felice Piccolo
15 France FW Grégory Tadé
18 Nigeria FW Chuka
19 Brazil FW Denilson Gabionetta (on loan from Parma)
20 Portugal DF Cadú (captain)
No. Position Player
21 Romania FW Sergiu Negruț
22 Portugal DF Tiago Lopes
23 Croatia MF Damjan Đoković (on loan from Bologna)
24 Romania DF Ionuț Rada
27 Australia FW Anthony Carter
28 Italy GK Remo Amadio
29 Romania FW Paul Batin
30 Portugal FW Rui Pedro
32 Romania GK Mihai Mincă
44 Spain MF Aitor Monroy
45 Portugal DF Camora
48 Ghana MF Sulley Muniru
62 Romania MF Constantin-Adrian Păun-Alexandru

Out on loan[edit]

No. Position Player
Romania MF Claudiu Voiculeț (at Târgu Mureș)
Romania DF László Sepsi (at Târgu Mureș)
Romania MF Ioan Hora (at Târgu Mureș)
Romania DF Cornel Ene (at Olimpia Satu Mare)
Brazil DF Edimar (at Rio Ave)
No. Position Player
Portugal MF Diogo Valente (at Académica)
Ivory Coast MF Bakary Saré (at Al Ain)
Romania FW Sergiu Buș (at Corona Brașov)
Brazil FW Ronny (at Rio Ave)
Romania FW Liviu Ganea (at Concordia Chiajna)

Coach history[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Current coaching staff[edit]

  • Manager: Romania Vasile Miriuţă
  • Assistant manager: Romania Alin Minteuan
  • Fitness coach: Germany Matthias Grahe
  • Goalkeeping coach: Romania Motei Dănuţ Ioan
  • Physiotherapist: Romania Gábor Barta
  • Club Doctor: Romania Ovidiu Dragoş, MD

Organization[edit]

Current administrative staff[edit]

  • Owner: Romania Árpád Pászkány
  • President: Romania Iuliu Mureșan
  • Vice president: Romania Ştefan Gadola
  • Executive director: Romania Răzvan Zamfir
  • Director of football: Romania Alexandru Matei
  • Board secretary: Romania Florin Popicu

Supporters[edit]

CFR fans at a home game

The biggest supporter groups of CFR 1907 Cluj are Commando Gruia and KVSC. As a premier, the 2009–2010 CFR Fans' Trophy was awarded to Cristian Panin as voted by supporters and football reviewers. The trophy is to be awarded every year by the CFR Cluj fans associations to the player that receives the highest aggregate amount of votes online and highest per match rating respectively.[11] The 2010–2011 CFR Fans' Trophy was awarded to captain Ricardo Cadu and the 2011–2012 CFR Fans' Trophy was awarded to goalkeeper Beto Pimparel as voted by supporters and football reviewers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Info Utile « STADION « Site-ul oficial al CFR 1907 Cluj". Cfr1907.ro. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  2. ^ Hafez, Shamoon. "BBC Sport – Champions League: What can Manchester United expect in Cluj?". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  3. ^ "Scolari forewarned". BBC News. 28 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  4. ^ Lawrence, Amy (14 September 2008). "Minnows from Transylvania to Cyprus take a bite of the big time". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  5. ^ "Champions League: Full group guide". London: The Guardian. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  6. ^ "Chelsea and Liverpool seek wins against Cluj, Eindhoven". AFP. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  7. ^ Taylor, Louise (2 October 2008). "Drogba injury leaves Chelsea reeling". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  8. ^ "TOP 10 rivalităţi din fotbalul românesc". ProSport. 
  9. ^ "Club World Ranking". IFFHS.de. 1 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  10. ^ "UEFA Club Rankings". UEFA.com. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  11. ^ "Trofeul suporterilor". Cluj: cheferetv.net/kvsc1907.ro. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 

External links[edit]