Pițurcă in June 2014.
|Date of birth||8 May 1956|
|Place of birth||Orodel, Romania|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|1977–1978||Pandurii Târgu Jiu||13||(4)|
|1989–1990||Racing Club de Lens||28||(4)|
|1991–1992||Steaua București (assistant)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Victor Pițurcă (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈviktor piˈt͡surkə]; born 8 May 1956 in Orodel, Dolj County) is a Romanian former football player and head Coach of the Ittihad FC. He is often nicknamed "Satana" (Satan) by the Romanian press, something he claims not to mind.
He joined Universitatea Craiova as a youth in 1970, aged 14, and four years later he was loaned to Dinamo Slatina, a club from Romania's Liga II, in order to gain more experience, before being called back to Craiova in 1975, making his debut for the team in November that year.
As he was not used much by Universitatea, Pițurcă left the club in 1977 to join Pandurii Târgu Jiu and then FC Drobeta Turnu-Severin, from where he was signed by FC Olt, thus returning to play in Liga I.
Pițurcă won with Steaua the European Cup in 1986, the European Supercup in 1987, and was semifinalist in the same competition losing to Benfica in 1988. During the 1988-89 season the team reached again the European Cup final, but loses to Milan. As for domestic performances, Pițurcă won the championship with Steaua București five times and the Romanian Cup four times.
A very funny moment happened in 1989 during the European Cup semifinal played by Steaua București against Galatasaray in İzmir when the Turkish side's goalkeeper relieved the ball hitting Pițurcă's back and from there the ball went straight into the goal. However, the goal was not validated because the referee did not see what happened.
On 25 March 2008 he was awarded the Ordinul "Meritul Sportiv" medal — (The Order "The Merit for Sports Achievement") class II by the president of Romania, Traian Băsescu for his part in winning the of 1986 European Cup Final.
Despite being a prolific striker, Pițurcă only won 13 caps for Romania, scoring six times.
|1||4 June 1986||23 August Stadium, Bucharest, Romania||Norway||1–0||3–1||Friendly|
|2||4 June 1986||23 August Stadium, Bucharest, Romania||Norway||2–0||3–1||Friendly|
|3||8 October 1986||Ramat Gan Stadium, Israel||Israel||1–1||4–2||Friendly|
|4||8 October 1986||Ramat Gan Stadium, Israel||Israel||4–1||4–2||Friendly|
|5||25 March 1987||Stadionul Steaua, Bucharest, Romania||Albania||1–0||5–1||UEFA Euro 1988 Qual.|
|6||29 April 1987||Stadionul Steaua, Bucharest, Romania||Spain||1–0||3–1||UEFA Euro 1988 Qual.|
Career as coach
After playing for Racing Club de Lens during the 1989–90 season, Pițurcă called it a day and retired from professional football to take over as coach. His first appointment was with Steaua București in 1991, followed by another one with Universitatea Craiova in 1994, finishing second in the championship at the end of 1994–95 season.
In 1996 he was named coach of the Romania Under 21 side, leading the team to its best performances ever, including a qualification to the Under 21 European Championship in 1998, hosted by Romania.
In 1998 he was appointed as Romania's manager and qualified the team to the 2000 European Football Championship. However, despite finishing the qualification group undefetead, Pițurcă was sacked before even taking his squad to the Euro 2000. The reason was an argument he had had with Romania's best players, Gheorghe Hagi and Gheorghe Popescu, both managed by Ioan Becali. Becali was Pițurcă's worst enemy because Pițurcă did not want to promote the players he managed to the national team, but he was great friends with Romanian Football Federation president Mircea Sandu.
In December 1999 he took over as manager of Steaua București, winning the championship in 2001, but resigned in 2004 after an argument with the club's chairman, Gigi Becali, who wanted to sack a player whom Pițurcă wanted to keep on the team.
In December 2004 he was appointed manager of Romania for the second time. At first Romania did well under his coaching, defeating several important European teams both in friendlies (Germany, Spain) and official matches (Czech Republic in Group 1 of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualification and the Netherlands in Group G of the UEFA 2008 Qualifying Round).
After topping their qualifying group (and thus qualifying for their first international tournament in 8 years), Romania was drawn in Group C at UEFA Euro 2008, alongside the Netherlands, Italy and France. At the time of the draw, these countries' respective Elo rankings among European teams were 1st, 2nd, 4th and 8th, and as such the group has been dubbed the competition's "group of death". After drawing their first two games against the finalists of the previous World Cup (0–0 against France, 1–1 against Italy), Romania lost 0–2 to the Netherlands, finishing the group in third place and thus being eliminated from the competition.
After Euro 2008, Romania showed an increasingly poor form in both friendly games and the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, where they had an almost unprecedented slow start. In their first two official games after Euro 2008, Romania lost 0–3 against Lithuania at home and four days later secured a difficult 1–0 victory against the Faeroe Islands. Although many of the players which helped Romania qualify for the Euro 2008 missed these two matches, this was not accepted as a reasonable excuse for the extremely poor results by the Romanian media and public opinion. The next official match, against France, was considered decisive for Romania's qualification chances. Despite managing only a 2–2 tie, the team's performance was generally deemed satisfactory, and Pițurcă was offered one last chance to remain coach of the national team: to win both of the next two games in the qualifying group, against Serbia and Austria, within a four day timespan. Romania eventually lost both matches (2–3 on 28 March 2009 against Serbia at home, 1–2 on 1 April against Austria away).
Considering Romania's extremely poor performances in 2008 and 2009, the Romanian Football Federation released Victor Pițurcă from his job from the Romania national team on 9 April 2009. A few weeks later, Răzvan Lucescu was appointed as his successor.
On 14 June 2011, he returned for a third spell in charge of the Romanian national team.
On 16 October 2014, he left the Romanian national team to sign a two-year deal with Ittihad FC in Saudi Arabia. In January of 2015, he was heavily criticized for excluding Ittihad's top stars Mohammed Noor and Hamad Al-Montashari due to disobeying training procedure. As of today, Noor has missed over 10 league matches, which was considered by Saudi journalists "way too far" for a punishment considering he is Ittihad's longest tenured and most accomplished player. On April 4, 2015 before the decisive match between Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr, Pițurcă was seen shaking hands with Noor.
- Romanian League: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
- Romanian Cup: 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989
- European Supercup: 1986
- European Cup: 1985-86
- Runner-up: 1988-89
- As of 4 April 2015
- Pițurcă against Galatasaray 1989; YouTube
- "Pițurcă and Romania part ways for third time". UEFA. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
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