Daniel Niculae

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Daniel Niculae
Niculae with Romania in 2012
Personal information
Full name Daniel George Niculae
Date of birth (1982-10-06) 6 October 1982 (age 35)
Place of birth Bucharest, Romania
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Rapid București
Youth career
1996–2001 Rapid București
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2006 Rapid București 107 (33)
2006–2010 Auxerre 130 (19)
2010–2012 Monaco 17 (4)
2011–2012 Nancy (loan) 31 (6)
2012–2013 Kuban Krasnodar 11 (2)
2014–2015 Rapid București 29 (10)
2015–2017 Astra Giurgiu 41 (8)
2017– Rapid București 30 (37)
National team
2003–2012 Romania 39 (9)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17 January 2018
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 30 October 2017

Daniel George Niculae (Romanian pronunciation: [daniˈel ˈd͡ʒe̯ord͡ʒe nikuˈla.e]; born 6 October 1982) is a Romanian professional footballer who plays for Rapid București mainly as a striker.

He has made 39 appearances for Romania since his debut in 2003.

Club career[edit]

Rapid București[edit]

Daniel "Nico" Niculae started his professional career at Rapid București in 2000. Despite a period playing for the B team in 2001, Nico proved he is one of the most gifted players of the club, and helped his club to win the championship in the 2002–03 season – his first as a first-team regular.

Niculae was Rapid's leading scorer in the 2004–05 season, with 14 goals – the third highest total in Romania's Liga 1.

In the 2005–06 UEFA Cup campaign, he and Mugurel Buga formed one of the most powerful striker pairs of the competition, with Niculae scoring 8 goals, as Rapid reached the Quarter-Finals of the competition. The season also saw Rapid claim the 2006 Romanian Cup, with Niculae scoring the winning goal in the first minute of extra-time, against Național București.


Niculae was transferred to French club AJ Auxerre in the summer of 2006, for €3.3 million. His first season with the club saw him score 4 goals in the UEFA Cup, but he struggled for goals in Ligue 1. However, the following season his form improved, as he scored 11 goals to help keep the club in Ligue 1.

The 2008–09 season was one to forget for Niculae. He was deeply affected by the loss of his father, and despite threatening to score on several occasions, he failed to find the net in 32 games.

Things got back on track in 2009–10 however. Jean Fernandez initially wanted to loan out Niculae for the season, but the latest signing Alexandre Licata was ruled out for most of the season with a serious ankle injury. Daniel Niculae found a new role in the Auxerre side, as a creator of goals rather than a scorer of them. As of April 2010, he lies third in the table for assists in Ligue 1 with a total of 8. He has a brilliant entente with Polish goalscorer Ireneusz Jeleń and has helped the Burgundian side to reach second in the table and to thus push for the Champions League places.


After the expiring of his contract with AJ Auxerre on 15 June 2010, Niculae signed a three-year-deal with Ligue 1 rivals AS Monaco.[1]

On 31 August 2011, Niculae signed for French side AS Nancy on a season-long loan. In a game against his former club, AJ Auxerre, on 30 January 2012, Nicuale scored a double giving his team the win.[2] Although, before the game started, Auxerre's supporters booed him, at the end he got a standing ovation for his impressive performance.[3]

Kuban Krasnodar[edit]

On 6 June 2012, he joined the Russian club Kuban Krasnodar, on a two-year contract. Here he will be coached by Yuri Krasnozhan.[4]

International career[edit]

Niculae won his first international cap for Romania in 2003, but did not become a regular squad member until the 2005–06 season.

He was selected for Romania's Euro 2008 squad, and started his country's first two matches. He came on as a substitute for their final group game against the Netherlands, but could not help Romania to a win, which would have taken the country into the Quarter-Finals.

Other than the fact that they share birthplace, he has no connection with namesake and fellow international Marius Niculae.

Career statistics[edit]

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 16 November 2005 Steaua, Bucharest, Romania  Nigeria 1–0 3–0 Friendly
2 26 May 2006 Soldier Field, Chicago, United States  Northern Ireland 2–0 2–0 Friendly
3 21 November 2007 Lia Manoliu, Bucharest, Romania  Albania 3–0 6–1 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
4 21 November 2007 Lia Manoliu, Bucharest, Romania  Albania 4–0 6–1 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying
5 26 March 2008 Steaua, Bucharest, Romania  Russia 2–0 3–0 Friendly
6 14 November 2009 Polish Army Stadium, Warsaw, Poland  Poland 1–0 1–0 Friendly
7 29 May 2010 Ukraina Stadium, Lviv, Ukraine  Ukraine 2–1 2–3 Friendly
8 5 June 2010 Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria  Honduras 1–0 3–0 Friendly
9 11 November 2011 Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Liège, Belgium  Belgium 1–2 1–2 Friendly
Correct as of 11 November 2011



Rapid București

Astra Giurgiu


External links[edit]