Bölöni during the 1983–84 Divizia A season
|Full name||László Bölöni|
|Date of birth||11 March 1953|
|Place of birth||Târgu Mureș, Romania|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Royal Antwerp (manager)|
|1970–1984||ASA Târgu Mureş||406||(64)|
|1987–1988||Racing Jet Wavre||16||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
László Bölöni (also called Ladislau Bölöni; born 11 March 1953) is a Romanian former footballer and current manager of Belgian First Division A club Royal Antwerp. An ethnic Hungarian, Bölöni was twice named Romanian Footballer of the Year, and appeared in 484 Divizia A (now known as Liga I) games, the fourth most appearences in the history of the competition. Internationally, he collected 102 caps with the Romanian national team, ranking him fifth on the country's all-time list, while also scoring 23 goals (sixth highest all-time mark). Bölöni was an integral part of the Steaua team that won the European Cup in 1986, the only Romanian team (and, along with Red Star Belgrade, one of two Eastern European sides) to have achieved the honour. He is considered one of the best Romanian footballers in history.
Born in Târgu Mureș, Romania to a Székely family from Târnăveni, Bölöni's first team was Chimica Târnăveni. In 1970, he moved to ASA Târgu Mureş where he stayed until 1984, when he joined Steaua Bucureşti, being part of the team which won the European Champions Cup in 1986 (where he missed his penalty in the shootout in the final) and the European Super Cup the following year. Bölöni remained at Steaua until 1987.
He won the Universiade gold medal with Romania's students football team in the 1974 edition that was held in France, playing alongside Gheorghe Mulțescu, Dan Păltinișanu, Romulus Chihaia and Paul Cazan.
On 25 March 2008 he was decorated by the president of Romania, Traian Băsescu with Ordinul "Meritul Sportiv" — (The Order "The Sportive Merit") class II for his part in winning the 1986 European Cup Final.
Playing for the Romanian national team in 1983, Bölöni scored one of his most vital goals ever, in the 1–0 win against Italy in a Euro 84 qualification match which eventually proved invaluable to the country's qualification for the tournament. At the finals themselves in France, he played in all three of Romania's games, and scored the equaliser in the 1–1 draw with Spain in Saint-Etienne.
National team goals
- Romania's goal tally first.
As a football coach, Bölöni started with French club AS Nancy-Lorraine, where he was head coach for several years. He promoted with the team in Ligue 1. In 2000, he was appointed as national team coach, but in the summer of 2001 decided to leave the job.
Then he joined Portugal's club Sporting Lisbon, where he won both the Portuguese championship and cup in his first year. He was fired at the end of the next season due to mediocre results. His legacy at Sporting was the introduction of youth team players such as Ricardo Quaresma, Hugo Viana and Cristiano Ronaldo into the senior's team starting lineup.
In May 2006, Bölöni signed a two-year contract with AS Monaco but was fired on 23 October for lack of results (Monaco being 19th out of 20 in the league by that date).
On 9 June 2008, Belgian team Standard Liège appointed Bölöni as their new manager, as he succeeded Michel Preud'homme, who led the club to their first Belgian First Division title in 25 years (season 2007–2008). On 24 May 2009, he won the Belgian First Division title in his first season at Standard (season 2008–2009) after playing the championship play-off against Anderlecht. On 10 February 2010, Bölöni resigned from his coaching position at Standard Liege.
On 29 May 2010, it was officially announced that Bölöni signed a contract with United Arab Emirates side Al-Wahda. On 2 September 2010, Al-Wahda sacked Bölöni, despite the team's 3–1 win over Ittihad Kalba.
On 2 January 2011, he was hired by RC Lens, on a one-year contract, but he couldn't save the team from relegation. Bölöni was immediately released in June, and signed a two-year contract with PAOK on 8 June 2011, following a short negotiation period.
Bölöni's tenure at PAOK started with two wins against Vålerenga Fotball for the Third Qualifying Round of 2011–12 UEFA Europa League, that brought them against Karpaty Lviv for the Play-off round. PAOK won the first leg at home and drew the second leg, qualifying for the group stage. In a tough group that consisted of Tottenham Hotspur F.C., FC Rubin Kazan and Shamrock Rovers F.C., Bölöni's PAOK managed to qualify undefeated at the first place, winning the game at White Hart Lane on the process, a remarkable feat considering that no Greek team had won at English soil since 1999 when PAOK defeated Arsenal at Highbury. For the round of 32, PAOK faced Udinese Calcio, and although a 0–0 draw at the first game in Italy spread optimism, a weakened PAOK side was eliminated off the competition when the home leg ended with a 0–3 defeat. All and all, the European presence was positive despite the abrupt end, as PAOK managed 6 wins out of 12 games, with impressive performances and a milestone win against Tottenham.
At the home front, PAOK had a turbulent season, as the team managed to finish 3rd in regular season, with 5th being its final position after Play-off. During the season, PAOK won the away games against AEK Athens F.C. and Panathinaikos F.C., marking the end of a winless, 10-year-old tradition against those teams when playing away from home. Team's form was inconsistent though, and the departure – due to the club's financial difficulties – of two of the most significant players of the team, Vieirinha and Pablo Contreras didn't help matters. Bölöni had to improvise to cover for the roster's lack of depth, with mixed results. Although the season was not deemed successful, fans didn't put the blame on Bölöni, who had won their hearts with his personality, his results against some major opponents and the team's style of play when on good form.
On 25 May 2012 PAOK released Bölöni after a one-year cooperation.
Coaching in the Middle East
Bölöni was hired by Qatari club Al Khor on 21 June 2012. On 26 January 2013, in a league match against Qatar SC, he was involved in a controversial incident. He threw a water bottle at a ball boy behind the goal after the boy took the ball, which went out of play, off the pitch. The bottle did not hit the boy, however, it was spotted by the match observer, Ali Al-Naimi, who relayed the information to a referee's assistant who eventually informed the referee, Fahad Jaber, who decided to send him off. Instead of going directly to the stands, he chose to illegally stay within the checkpoint. Security officers attempted to guide him off, but he retorted by using foul language and pushing the police officers. As a result, a police report was filed against him. He was later fined 75,000 Qatari riyals by the QFA and banned for 5 matches.
In August 2013, Croatian media speculated that Bölöni might be named the new head coach of Dinamo Zagreb, following the sacking of team's former head coach, Krunoslav Jurčić. Bölöni has previously been linked with Hajduk Split, Dinamo Zagreb's fierce rival, as well.
On 21 July 2015, Saudi club Al-Ittihad announced Bölöni as their new coach.
On 16 June 2017, Bölöni was announced as the new manager of Belgian club Royal Antwerp. In his first season at the club, he finished 8th place in the regular season, and 3rd place in the Europa League play-off group to keep the team safe from relegation.
In his second season, Antwerp was the surprise package of the championship, finishing the regular season on 6th place, and qualifying for the championship play-offs for the first time. Antwerp recorded important victories over Genk (1–0), Anderlecht (2–1), Gent (2–1), Standard Liège (2–1), as well as a blank draw with Club Brugge in the first half of the play-off, and climbed on the 3rd place, but later losses to these teams meant Antwerp finished 4th, thus going for the Europa League play-offs final. In the final, Antwerp beat Charleroi 3–2 after coming back from 0–2 down in the first minutes. Thus, Antwerp sequred qualification in the second qualifying round of UEFA Europa League after years of absence from Europe.
|ASA Târgu Mureș||1970–71||Divizia B||19||2||0||0||0||0||19||2|
|Steaua București||1984–85||Divizia A||24||3||1[d]||0||0||0||25||3|
|Racing Jet Brussels||1987–88||Belgian Pro League||16||0||0||0||0||0||16||0|
- Two appearances in 1975–76 UEFA Cup
- Two appearances in 1976–77 UEFA Cup
- Two appearances in 1977–78 UEFA Cup
- One appearance in the 1984–85 European Cup Winners' Cup
- Nine appearances and one goal in the 1985–86 European Cup
- One appearance and one goal in the 1986–87 European Cup
- One appearance in 1986 European Super Cup
- Four appearances and one goal in the 1987–88 European Cup
- Romanian League: 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87
- Romanian Cup: 1984–85, 1986–87
- European Cup: 1985–86
- European Super Cup: 1986
- Intercontinental Cup Runner-up: 1986
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- "Bölöni steps down as Standard coach". UEFA.com. 10 February 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
- Bölöni appointed as head coach of Al-Wahda Archived 6 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- "Al-Wahda sack Boloni". FIFA.com. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
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- "L. Bölöni". Soccerway. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
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