Gheorghe Popescu

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For the early 20th century Romanian footballer, see Gheorghe Popescu I.
Gică Popescu
Gică Popescu.jpg
Personal information
Full name Gheorghe Popescu
Date of birth (1967-10-09) 9 October 1967 (age 46)
Place of birth Calafat, Dolj County, Romania
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Sweeper / Centre back / Midfielder
Youth career
1980–1984 Dunarea Calafat
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984–1990 Universitatea Craiova 103 (22)
1988 Steaua Bucureşti (loan) 13 (1)
1990–1994 PSV 109 (24)
1994–1995 Tottenham Hotspur 23 (3)
1995–1997 Barcelona 68 (9)
1997–2001 Galatasaray 111 (6)
2001–2002 Lecce 28 (3)
2002 Dinamo Bucureşti 8 (0)
2002–2003 Hannover 96 14 (1)
Total 467 (68)
National team
1988–2003 Romania 115 (16)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Gheorghe Gică Popescu (born 9 October 1967 in Calafat) is a retired Romanian football defender, former captain of FC Barcelona and key part of the Romania national team in the 1990s. He played for a string of European clubs in that period, including a four-year stint at PSV Eindhoven. His tactical knowledge as a defender made him a valuable team member in top European competitions until he reached his late-thirties. Beside from his defending skills, he was also capable starting attacks. He is the brother-in-law of fellow Romanian international Gheorghe Hagi.

Playing career[edit]

Club career[edit]

After playing six seasons for Universitatea Craiova, Popescu was loaned to country giants Steaua Bucharest reaching the semi-finals of the European Cup during their 1987–88 campaign. He moved abroad to the Netherlands in 1990, and signed for PSV Eindhoven at the request of Sir Bobby Robson, helping them to keep among the top Dutch sides, until he was transferred to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on 9 September 1994 for a fee of £2.9million.[1] He played 23 times in the Premier League and scored three goals as Spurs (who changed manager from Ossie Ardiles to Gerry Francis a few weeks after Popescu arrived) finished seventh in the league – their highest finish for five years. He also helped them to reach the FA Cup semi-finals, where they lost 4–1 to eventual cup winners Everton.[2] However, after less than a year in England, he left Tottenham to sign for the Spanish club Barcelona for £3million, succeeding Ronald Koeman in the team.[3] He was made captain of the Catalan club, contributing to their Copa del Rey (domestic cup) glory in his first season and their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup triumph in his second.

After leaving Barcelona during the summer of 1997, he was transferred to Galatasaray of Turkey, where he spent four years and won several major trophies, including the UEFA Cup in May 2000 – where Galatasaray defeated Arsenal, key rivals of his old club Tottenham, on penalties after a goalless draw in open play and he scored the final penalty shot in the penalty shootout. He spent the 2001–2002 season in Italy with Serie A club Lecce, before returning to his native Romania for a brief spell with Dinamo Bucharest, before winding up with a season in Germany with Hannover 96.

Popescu was never outside the top four in the Romanian Footballer of the Year awards for 13 years from 1989 until 2001. He was recently voted into Romanian footballs all-time World Cup team.[4]

International career[edit]

At international level, Popescu stands among Romania's all-time most capped players with 115, in which he scored 16 goals. He played for his country in the 1990, 1994, and 1998 World Cups, Euro 96 and Euro 2000. He also entered the symbolic but exclusive circle of players with a century of caps.[5]

Criminal conviction[edit]

On 4 March 2014, Popescu and seven others, among them Mihai Stoica, were convicted by a Romanian appeals court of money laundering and tax evasion in connection with the transfer of football players from Romania to other countries. Popescu was sentenced to a jail term of three years and one month.[6][7]

Career statistics[edit]

[8]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Romania League Cupa României Cupa Ligii Europe Total
1984–85 Universitatea Craiova Divizia A 2 0
1985–86 18 1
1986–87 31 1
1987–88 14 1
1987–88 Steaua Bucureşti Divizia A 13 1
1988–89 Universitatea Craiova Divizia A 33 8
1989–90 26 7
Netherlands League KNVB Cup League Cup Europe Total
1990–91 PSV Eindhoven Eredivisie 30 5
1991–92 29 7
1992–93 24 6
1993–94 23 5
1994–95 2 0
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1994–95 Tottenham Hotspur Premier League 23 3
Spain League Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga Europe Total
1995–96 Barcelona La Liga 39 5 7 2 8 1 54 8
1996–97 29 4 5 0 8 1 42 5
Turkey League Türkiye Kupası League Cup Europe Total
1997–98 Galatasaray First League 32 2 8 2 8 0 48 4
1998–99 29 2 5 1 8 0 42 3
1999–2000 25 2 3 0 14 0 42 2
2000–01 24 0 3 0 15 0 42 0
2001–02 Süper Lig 1 0 3 0 4 0
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
2001–02 Lecce Serie A 28 3
Romania League Cupa României Cupa Ligii Europe Total
2002–03 Dinamo Bucureşti Divizia A 8 0
Germany League DFB-Pokal DFB Ligapokal Europe Total
2002–03 Hannover Bundesliga 14 1
Country Romania 145 19
Netherlands 108 23
England 23 3
Spain 68 9
Turkey 111 6 19 3 48 0 178 9
Italy 28 3
Germany 14 1
Total 492 63

Cup Includes Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España.

[5]

Romania national team
Year Apps Goals
1988 4 0
1989 8 1
1990 14 0
1991 6 0
1992 4 1
1993 4 0
1994 15 1
1995 5 0
1996 8 6
1997 7 4
1998 12 2
1999 8 0
2000 6 0
2001 5 1
2002 8 0
2003 1 0
Total 115 16

Club honours[edit]

Steaua Bucureşti
PSV Eindhoven
FC Barcelona
Galatasaray
Individual

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Romania's goal tally first. "Score" column indicates the score after the player's goal.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Football: Spurs sign Popescu: Sugar takes outlay to 7.5m pounds". The Independent. 10 September 1994. 
  2. ^ "Gheorghe POPESCU". Sporting-heroes.net. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Ridley, Ian (13 August 1995). "Club-by-club guide: The prospects, the players to watch, the arrivals and departures". The Independent. 
  4. ^ "Planet World Cup: The All-Time World Cup Squads". planetworldcup.com. Retrieved 23 July 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Mamrud, Roberto (5 April 2003). "Gheorghe Popescu - Century of International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Ex-aanvoerder Barcelona moet drie jaar de cel in "Ex-aanvoerder Barcelona moet drie jaar de cel in" (in Dutch). De Standaard. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Gică Popescu, condamnat cu EXECUTARE cu o zi înaintea alegerilor de la FRF" (in Romanian). romaniatv.net. 4 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Gheorghe Popescu at National-Football-Teams.com

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
José Mari Bakero
FC Barcelona captain
1996–1997
Succeeded by
Pep Guardiola