Adrian Ilie

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Not to be confused with Adrian Ilie (footballer, born 1981)
Adrian Ilie
Personal information
Full name Adrian Bucurel Ilie
Date of birth (1974-04-20) 20 April 1974 (age 44)
Place of birth Craiova, Romania
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Left winger
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1993 Electroputere Craiova 31 (12)
1993–1996 Steaua Bucureşti 85 (28)
1996–1998 Galatasaray 30 (12)
1998–2002 Valencia 84 (29)
2002–2003 Deportivo Alavés 22 (6)
2003–2004 Beşiktaş 13 (6)
2004–2005 Zürich 23 (7)
Total 287 (100)
National team
1993–2005[1] Romania 55 (13)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Adrian Bucurel Ilie (Romanian pronunciation: [adriˈan bukuˈrel iˈli.e]; born 20 April 1974) is a Romanian former international footballer who played as a forward. He was nicknamed "Cobra" by his former coach at Valencia, Claudio Ranieri, because of his spectacular skills and goalscoring prowess.

He represented the Romanian national team in one World Cup and two European Championships.

Club career[edit]

Ilie began his career with his local club Electroputere Craiova before transferring to Romania's biggest club CSA Steaua București (football) in 1993. During his three years with Steaua, Ilie helped the club to three consecutive Romanian league titles and the 1995–96 Cupa României.

In 1996, Ilie was purchased by Turkish side Galatasaray for an amount of €2.35 million, where he won the Turkish championship in 1996–97. After an impressive season, he moved from Galatasaray to Valencia CF for a reported US$ 7 million, where he replaced in the squad the Brazilian star Romário and took over his no. 11 jersey. At Valencia he impressed from his debut, scoring twelve goals in 17 matches, and thus getting the nickname of "Cobra" from coach Claudio Ranieri, because he was as "lethal as a cobra".[2] At the Mestalla, Ilie made a remarkable attacking duo together with teammate Claudio López, helping Los Che to win the 1998–99 Copa del Rey. In 2000, under Héctor Cúper's command, Valencia reached the final of the UEFA Champions League, where Ilie appeared as a substitute for Gerardo in a 3–0 loss to Real Madrid CF. Two years later, Ilie was a member of Rafael Benítez's 2001–02 La Liga winning squad, scoring only two goals in 10 matches because of injuries.

In 2002, Ilie left Valencia to join Deportivo Alavés but the club was relegated to the Segunda División in his only season. He then returned to Turkey to play for Beşiktaş J.K. before transferring to Switzerland's FC Zürich a year later. In 2005, he signed with Belgian side Beerschot AC but never played with the club due to a severe ankle injury,[3] resulting in his retirement from football at the age of only 31.

However, in 2009, he decided to come back into professional football after some discussions with Russian club FC Terek Grozny but he had to quit after failing his medical tests.

International career[edit]

At the international level, Ilie won 55 caps for Romania, scoring 13 goals. He played at the 1996 European Football Championship, 1998 FIFA World Cup and 2000 European Football Championship.[4] At 1998 FIFA World Cup, he scored against Colombia one of the most spectacular goals of the tournament. In the period between 1997-2000, alongside teammate Gheorghe Hagi, he was Romania's national team leader, scoring important goals and impressing with his skills. In 1998, he won the title of Romania's footballer of the year.



Steaua Bucharest[5]


Personal life[edit]

He is the older brother of fellow footballer Sabin Ilie.[9]


  1. ^ "Adrian Bucurel Ilie - International Appearances". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.
  2. ^ "Adrian Ilie La 'Cobra' más letal del Valencia de Ranieri". (in Spanish). 27 January 2015. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  3. ^ De Cobra stuurt zijn kat Het Nieuwsblad. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  4. ^ Adrian Ilie Statistics FIFA. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Adrian Ilie" (in Romanian). Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Ilie, Adrian". National-Football-Teams. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Adrian Ilie". BDFutbol. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Switzerland 2004/05". RSSSF. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Dinamo land Valencia striker Ilie". UEFA. 21 September 2001. Retrieved 10 July 2014.