Miodrag Belodedici

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Miodrag Belodedici
Belodedici.JPG
Personal information
Date of birth (1964-05-20) 20 May 1964 (age 50)
Place of birth Socol, Romania
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Sweeper
Youth career
1978–1981 Minerul Moldova Nouă
1981–1982 Luceafărul București
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1982–1988 Steaua Bucureşti 174 (18)
1989–1992 Red Star Belgrade 63 (3)
1992–1994 Valencia 49 (0)
1994–1995 Valladolid 31 (0)
1995–1996 Villarreal 16 (2)
1996–1998 Atlante 63 (2)
1998–2001 Steaua Bucureşti 61 (3)
2011–2013 GVD Bucureşti
Total 457 (28)
National team
1982–1984 Romania U21 16 (1)
1984–2000[1] Romania 55 (5)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Miodrag Belodedici (Serbian Миодраг Белодедић / Miodrag Belodedić; born 20 May 1964) is a Romanian retired footballer who played as a sweeper.

Nicknamed the deer due to his elegant tackles, he spent the majority of his 19-year professional career with Steaua Bucureşti (ten seasons), winning the European Cup with that team and Red Star Belgrade, thus becoming the first player to win the trophy with two different clubs.[2] He also played in Spain and Mexico.

Belodedici won more than 50 caps with Romania, representing the nation at the 1994 World Cup and two European Championships.

Club career[edit]

Early life / Steaua[edit]

Belodedici was born in a family of Serbian ethnicity in the village of Socol, near the border with Serbia. He began playing organized football at the late age of 16.[3]

Belodedici spoke only Serbian until elementary school, and completed his first four grades in that language.[3] In the fifth he began learning Romanian, which he eventually mastered with the help from his Romanian junior national team team-mates Gheorghe Hagi and Gavril Balint.[3] He joined the youth squad of Minerul Moldova Nouă in 1978, aged 14, his first coach being Olimp Mateescu; three years later he moved to Luceafărul București, a team created by the Romanian Football Federation for the purpose of gathering all talented young players in the country in one squad.

In the summer of 1982 Belodedici was signed by FC Steaua Bucureşti, being selected by the club's chairman Ion Alecsandrescu, who was in search for a high quality sweeper. He finished his first season with 17 Liga I appearances, then proceeded to become a first-team regular in the following seasons as the club won five consecutive national championships, including two doubles.

Belodedici helped Steaua become the first Romanian – and Eastern Europe – club to win the European Cup in 1985–86, playing the full 120 minutes in the final against FC Barcelona in Seville. He also started in the subsequent UEFA Super Cup, won against FC Dynamo Kyiv.

Red Star Belgrade[edit]

In 1988, when Nicolae Ceauşescu was still in power, Belodedici defected from his home country to the neighbouring Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He later gave an account of his escape to Belgrade: once he saw himself in the city, he contacted the president of Red Star Belgrade, but could not get through due to widespread commotion in the team over the team's defeat in the derby with FK Partizan. A Serbian friend attempted to have Belodedici agree to sign for Partizan instead, but the player insisted that he would only play for Red Star; the president interrupted their conversation and, when he realized that he was in fact the 1986 European Cup winner, he immediately signed him.

However, during his first year, Belodedici had to play without a legal contract, and only in friendly matches, as the Romanian authorities forged his professional player contract, and UEFA suspended him for one year on the basis of data furnished. The Ceaușescu regime found him guilty of treason and sentenced him to ten years of prison in absentia; after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, all charges were dropped, and Belodedici returned to Bucharest.

In 1989 Belodedici was given the green light to play for Red Star and, soon after, became a permanent fixture on the squad. In 1990–91 he won the European Cup for the second time, scoring in the final against Olympique de Marseille during the penalty shootout, and became the first player to win the European Cup with two different clubs, by playing in both finals; with the club, amongst other accolades, he also won three league championships in a row.

Spain[edit]

Belodedici signed with Valencia CF for the 1992–93 season, being a starter in his second year as the Che finished in seventh position, with no fewer than four managers being used during the campaign, including Guus Hiddink twice.

In 1994 he moved to Real Valladolid, with the team ranking 19th but avoiding relegation as La Liga was expanded from 20 to 22 clubs. He spent his last season in Spain with Valencia neighbours Villarreal CF, in Segunda División.

Later years[edit]

Belodedici spent two years in Mexico with Atlante FC. In 1998, aged 34, he returned to his main club Steaua, still being a relatively important defensive unit and winning two major titles, including the 2001 national championship.

Belodedici retired from football in June 2001, having appeared in 235 games in Romania's top flight (21 goals) and winning 11 major titles. Subsequently he worked with the Romanian Football Federation, coordinating national youth teams.[4]

International career[edit]

Belodedici made his debut for Romania on 31 July 1984 – aged 20 – in a 1–0 friendly win over China. During 1987 he scored three of his five international goals, one in the UEFA Euro 1988 qualifiers against Albania (5–1 win in Bucharest).

Because of his escape to Yugoslavia he was excluded from the Romanian national team and he missed the 1990 World Cup however later Belodedici returned to the national team once the regime changed in his country and he played in all the games at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States as the national team exited in the quarterfinals, missing his penalty shootout attempt against Sweden in the last-eight stage.[5] Additionally, he was selected for the Euro 1996 and Euro 2000 tournaments, totalling four appearances combined and reaching the quarterfinals in the latter.

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Romania's goal tally first. "Score" column indicates the score after the player's goal.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 4 March 1987 Ankara 19 Mayıs Stadium, Ankara, Turkey  Turkey 1–0 3–1 Friendly
2 25 March 1987 Stadionul Ghencea, Bucharest, Romania  Albania 4–1 5–1 Euro 1988 qualifying
3 8 April 1987 Stadionul Municipal, Braşov, Romania  Israel 2–1 3–2 Friendly
4 20 September 1988 Stadionul 1 Mai, Constanţa, Romania  Albania 1–0 3–0 Friendly
5 6 September 1994 Stadionul Ghencea, Bucharest, Romania  Azerbaijan 1–0 3–0 Euro 1996 qualifying

Honours[edit]

Steaua București
Red Star

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Miodrag Belodedici - International Appearances". The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 
  2. ^ Miodrag Belodedici; Sports Illustrated
  3. ^ a b c Olivera Bogavac (28 March 1990). "Tempo magazine #1257, pg. 11" (in Serbo-Croatian). Tempo magazine. 
  4. ^ Steaua heroes do Seville service; UEFA.com, 16 March 2006
  5. ^ Romania - Sweden 4-5 ap (2-2, 1-1, 0-0); Planet World Cup, 10 July 1994

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Marius Lăcătuş
Steaua captain
1999
Succeeded by
Marius Baciu