Lucian Sânmărtean

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Lucian Sânmărtean
LucianSanmartean.jpg
Sânmărtean with Utrecht in 2007
Personal information
Full name Lucian Iulian Sânmărtean
Date of birth (1980-03-13) 13 March 1980 (age 37)
Place of birth Bistrița, Romania
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder / Winger
Club information
Current team
Al-Taawoun
Number 29
Youth career
1987–1998 Gloria Bistrița
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2003 Gloria Bistrița 89 (12)
2003–2007 Panathinaikos 24 (1)
2007–2008 Utrecht 16 (0)
2009–2010 Gloria Bistrița 26 (1)
2010–2014 Vaslui 121 (11)
2014–2015 Steaua București 26 (5)
2015–2016 Al-Ittihad 31 (6)
2016–2017 Pandurii Târgu Jiu 17 (2)
2017– Al-Taawoun 6 (0)
National team
2000–2002 Romania U21 12 (1)
2002–2016 Romania 21 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 9 March 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19 June 2016

Lucian Iulian Sânmărtean (born 13 March 1980) is a Romanian professional footballer who plays for Saudi Arabian club Al-Taawoun as an attacking midfielder or a winger.

Regarded by coach Ioan Sabău as Romania's most talented player after Gheorghe Hagi,[1][2] he has often been praised for his exceptional passes and uncommon dribbling ability.[3][4][5] However, much of his career was marked by injury.

Club career[edit]

Gloria Bistrița[edit]

Born in Bistrița, Sânmărtean started out playing for hometown side Gloria Bistrița, after he was noticed by Constantin Sava.[1] He joined the Vampires' youth academy at the age of six.[1]

Sănmărtean made his Gloria Bistrița first-team debut on 24 April 1999 in a 3–1 win against FC Onești as a substitute.[6] He immediately established himself as one of the most talented young players in Romania.[1] He helped his team, winning the last League Cup ever in 2000, scoring in the penalty shootout. He also contributed to his team finishing 3rd in Divizia A, highest rank ever, for Gloria Bistriţa.

On 7 January 2003, the 23-year-old was seen as a straight replacement for former Rapid București captain Constantin Schumacher after his departure, media reports suggesting a fee of €250,000 being paid for Sânmărtean.[7] Sânmărtean joined Rapid at their winter training camp in Antalya, Turkey, but for reasons which seemed mysterious at the time, he was prevented from playing more than 60 minutes of Rapid's friendly fixtures. On 2 February, he was diagnosed as suffering from type B and type D hepatitis at the Sports Medicine Institute in Bucharest.[8] However, after his return in Bistriţa, his medical file came clean, the disease being invented, to cover the money disagreement between the two chairmen.[1][9]

Panathinaikos[edit]

On 16 July 2003, Panathinaikos confirmed the €900,000 signing of Romanian international playmaker. The former Romania Under-21 captain signed a three-year contract with the option of a further two years with the Athens club.[10] Sânmărtean became the fifth Romanian at Panathinaikos, after Doru Nicolae, Dănuț Lupu, Erik Lincar and Dumitru Mitu. He made his debut for the Greek team on 24 August in a 1–0 win against Skoda Xanthi. His first goal came in the Greek Cup, on 17 December against OFI Crete.[11] On 14 March, he scored his first and only goal in the Alpha Ethniki, against Panionios. In his first season, he won the championship, and the Greek fans called him "Sânmărtean – The little magician".[12] Later he had a conflict with Alberto Malesani and after no matches in more than two years, Sânmărtean was released from his Panathinaikos deal in December 2006.[13]

Utrecht[edit]

Sânmărtean signing autographs for Utrecht fans in 2007.

On 15 February 2007, Utrecht signed Sânmărtean on a short-term contract with the option of a further two years with the Eredivisie club. The Romanian had been expected to undergo a trial with AZ Alkmaar, but he opted for Utrecht.[14] On completion of the deal, then Utrecht technical director Piet Buter said of Sânmărtean: "We got ourselves a gold mine. He is a Champions League player, I don't think we'll be able to keep him too long for our team."[1] On 26 March, he made his unofficial debut, in the David Di Tommaso Memorial, against AS Monaco, being handed the no. 12 shirt.[15] On 8 April, he was in the startup team against Willem II, counting his Eredivisie debut.[16] On 31 August 2008, Utrecht and Sânmărtean decided to end their cooperation, because of his injuries.[17]

Return to Gloria Bistrița[edit]

After he became a free agent, Sânmărtean started training by himself in Bistrița.[1] On 8 January 2009, he began training with Gloria Bistrița's first team and on 25 February, he signed a short-term contract with his former team.[18] He made his first appearance in his second spell for the club in a league match against Rapid Bucureşti on 1 March, coming on as a substitute and being handed the no. 10 shirt.[19] On 10 April, Sânmărtean assisted Gloria's first, in a 2–2 draw against CFR Cluj. It was his first assist, since his return to Gloria.[20] On 23 May, he played his 100 match in Liga I for Gloria Bistriţa.[21] In July, Steaua expressed its interest in the Romanian playmaker, but the disagreement over the player's wage, persuaded him to extend his contract with Gloria.[22]

On 19 September, Sănmărtean scored his first goal since December 2004, in a league match against Ceahlăul Piatra Neamț.[23] Following Florin Halagian's appointment, he was given the captain's armband. On 4 October, he obtained his first point since his captain appointment, leading his team to a 1–1 draw against Steaua București.[24] On 3 December, following a conflict with the team's manager Halagian, Gloria Bistriţa released Sănmărtean.[25]

Vaslui[edit]

Shortly after, Sănmărtean signed a 2.5-year contract with the Moldavian team FC Vaslui.[26] On 11 February, Vaslui signed his brother, Dinu Sânmărtean.[27] On 21 February, he made his league debut, against Gaz Metan Mediaş, being handed the no. 18 shirt.[28] On 18 March, he provided his first assist, assisting Carlo Costly for 2–1 against Poli Iași, from a corner kick.[29] Four days later, he played for 19 minutes for the first time alongside his brother for Vaslui, Dinu coming in as a substitute for Hugo Luz in the 53rd minute, and Sănmărtean being substitute out in the 72nd minute.[30] On 15 April, he scored for the first time for his new team, against FC Braşov in the Romanian Cup, scoring Vaslui's third from a 27-yard free kick. Vaslui went on to win 4–0, and secured a spot in the Romanian Cup Final.[31] He helped his team finishing third in Liga I, the highest rank ever for Vaslui.[32] On 26 May, he was in the startup team against CFR Cluj, in the Romanian Cup Final, but he was substituted at half time, due to a minor injury. Vaslui eventually lost the cup in the penalty shootout.[33] The 2009–10 campaign, represented Sănmărtean's first season, from the past six years, without any major injury.[citation needed]

The 2010–11 season started with Vaslui's failed attempt to qualify for the first time in Europa League's Group Stages after being defeated 0–2 by French side Lille OSC in the play-off stage.[34][35] On 23 September, he received his first red card since his arrival at the club, in a cup match against ALRO Slatina.[36] He scored his first league goal, with a close range shot against CFR Cluj.[37] His second goal came on 1 April 2011, in a 2–0 win against Unirea Urziceni. He scored Vaslui's first with a 17-yard shot just outside the box, maintaining his team in the title chase.[38] On 15 May, he captained Vaslui for the first time, leading his team to a 4–2 win in a league match against Sportul Studenţesc.[39] In his second year at the club, he managed to finish third in Liga I for the second year in a row.[40] Sănmărtean was the top assister in Liga I, providing 10 assists for his team.[5]

Although he missed the entire pre-season due to an injury,[41] he was a starter against Rapid Bucureşti, in Vaslui's opening match.[42] On 18 August, in the 2–0 victory against Sparta Prague, he created the first goal and assisted the second,[43] leading his team to a historical qualification in Europa League's Group Stages.[4] On 11 September, Sânmărtean scored his club's third goal in a 3–1 home league victory over Dinamo Bucuresti.[44] On 18 November, Sânmărtean signed a new three-year contract with SC Vaslui.[45] On 8 December, he received his first personal award, lifting the Midfielder of the Year Award at the Fanatik Awards Ceremony.[46] On 19 December, he was awarded the Liga I Footballer of The Year award from LPF and FRF at the Romanian Football Ceremony.[47] On 22 December, he finished second on the vote for Gazeta Sporturilor's Romanian Footballer of the Year Award, behind Gabriel Torje.[48] He was also voted The Best Romanian Footballer in Liga I by readers of ProSport.[49] On 9 March 2012, he closed the scoreboard in the 4–0 home league win against Concordia Chiajna, scoring the fourth goal.[50] On 15 March, he assisted three times in the 3–2 away victory against Oţelul Galaţi, helping his team qualifying in the Romanian Cup semi-finals, for the third time in the last four years.[51]

Steaua București[edit]

Sânmărtean playing for Steaua București, October 2014.

In February 2014, Sănmărtean signed a one-year and a half deal with Liga I champions Steaua Bucureşti. He scored on his club debut from a penalty kick in the 44th minute as Steaua won 4–0 over Concordia Chiajna.[52] He won his first domestic league title in Romania under the management of Laurențiu Reghecampf during his first season at the club.[53]

Later years[edit]

On 3 January 2015, he signed a contract with Al-Ittihad, when he entered his final six months of the deal with Steaua.[54] The two clubs reached an agreement to release the player before his contract with Steaua ended, thus he joined Al-Ittihad in January 2015.[55]

International career[edit]

The former Romania U-21 captain,[7] earned his first cap in an exhibition match against Croatia on 20 November 2002.[56] Because of the hepatitis rumours he lost for a few months the national team, but he was recalled for the friendly against Lithuania. On 23 May 2011, he was recalled for the Euro 2012 qualifying match against Bosnia and Herzegovina.[57] However, following Victor Piturca's appointment as Romanian national team's coach, Sânmărtean was not called for the friendly against San Marino, despite his good shape.[3] The Romanian fans started a petition called "Sânmărtean at the National team" on Facebook[58][59] but it had no effect because he was not included in the squad once again.[60] Nevertheless, Lucian was called up for the qualifying matches vs. Belarus and Albania in October 2011. He was also called up for Euro 2016 in France, making one appearance as Romania were eliminated in the group stage.

Scores and results table. Romania's goal tally first:

Personal life[edit]

On 14 April 2010, Sănmărtean married the former athlete Maria Rus.[61] On 27 July 2010, he became a father for the first time when his wife gave birth to a girl, whom they named Natalia.

His younger brother Dinu is also a professional footballer who plays for Delta Tulcea. They have played together for both Gloria Bistriţa and SC Vaslui.

Career statistics[edit]

Statistics accurate as of match played 10 December 2016

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Romania League Romanian Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
1998–99 Gloria Bistriţa Divizia A 1 0 - - - 1 0
1999–00 9 0 2 0 2 1 13 1
2000–01 26 2 2 0 - 28 2
2001–02 27 3 2 1 1 0 30 4
2002–03 26 7 1 0 3 0 30 7
2003–04 - 3 3 3 3
Greece League Greek Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
2003–04 Panathinaikos Alpha Ethniki 18 1 4 1 - 4 0 - 26 2
2004–05 6 0 0 0 1 1 7 1
2005–06 -
2006–07 Superleague
Netherlands League KNVB Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
2006–07 Utrecht Eredivisie 1 0 - 1 0
2007–08 14 0 14 0
2008–09 1 0 1 0
Romania League Romanian Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
2008–09 Gloria Bistriţa Liga I 11 0 0 0 - - - 11 0
2009–10 15 1 1 0 16 1
Vaslui 16 0 3 1 19 1
2010–11 29 2 1 0 2 0 32 2
2011–12 31 2 4 0 10 0 45 2
2012–13 29 7 1 0 4 0 34 7
2013–14 16 0 3 0 - 19 0
Steaua București 12 2 3 0 15 2
2014–15 14 3 1 0 1 0 11 1 0 0 27 4
Saudi Arabia League Saudi Crown Prince Cup King Cup of Champions Continental Other Total
2014-15 Ittihad Saudi Professional League 11 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 - 15 0
2015-16 20 6 4 2 3 2 6 1 33 11
Romania League Romanian Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
2016–17 Pandurii Târgu Jiu Liga I 17 2 0 0 0 0 - - 17 2
Total Romania Gloria Bistrița 115 13 8 1 2 1 7 3 - - 132 18
Vaslui 121 11 12 1 - - 16 0 - - 149 12
Steaua București 26 5 4 0 1 0 11 1 0 0 42 6
Pandurii Târgu Jiu 17 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 2
Total 279 31 24 2 3 1 34 4 0 0 340 38
Greece Panathinaikos 24 1 4 1 - 5 1 - - 33 3
Netherlands Utrecht 16 0 - - - 16 0
Saudi Arabia Ittihad 31 6 4 2 7 2 6 1 - 48 11
Career total 350 38 32 5 10 3 45 6 0 0 437 52

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Panathinaikos
Vaslui
Steaua București

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Sanmartean, povestea unui talent irosit". Evenimentul Zilei. Retrieved 27 December 2008. 
  2. ^ "Sanmartean era cel mai talentat jucator roman dupa Hagi". Sport.ro. Retrieved 8 January 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Sanmartean e un fotbalist stralucitor, nu inteleg de ce nu e chemat la nationala" (in Romanian). GSP. 14 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Cifrele lui Sanmartean din returul cu Sparta sunt incredibile" (in Romanian). Gazeta Sporturilor. 28 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Sanmartean cel mai tehnic" (in Romanian). Gazeta Sporturilor. 22 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Lucian Sanmartean" (in Romanian). cfgloria.ro. 13 March 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Rapid snare Sanmartean". UEFA.com. 8 January 2003. 
  8. ^ "Hepatitis sidelines Sanmartean". UEFA.com. 3 February 2003. 
  9. ^ "Rapidistii au pus doctorul sa minta" (in Romanian). prosport.ro. 22 January 2009. 
  10. ^ "Sanmartean sets sights high". UEFA. 13 July 2003. 
  11. ^ "Sanmartean marcheaza pentru Panathinaikos" (in Romanian). Stiri Acasa. 10 December 2003. 
  12. ^ Μάγος με πήλινα πόδια! (in Greek). gazzetta.gr. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "S-a certat cu Malesani". adevarul.ro. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  14. ^ "Utrecht snap up Sanmartean". Skysport. 15 February 2007. 
  15. ^ "Sanmartean a debutat la FC Utrecht" (in Romanian). Romaniansoccer. 26 March 2007. 
  16. ^ "Utrecht 3–0 Willem". Soccernet. 8 April 2007. 
  17. ^ "Sanmartean leaves FC Utrecht". fcutrecht.nl. 31 August 2008. 
  18. ^ "Lucian Sanmartean a semnat un contract valabil pe 6 luni" (in Romanian). Realitatea. 25 February 2009. 
  19. ^ "Sanmartean redebuteaza pentru Gloria" (in Romanian). Realitatea. 1 March 2009. 
  20. ^ "Meci de infarct" (in Romanian). City News. 10 April 2009. 
  21. ^ "Sanmartean a jucat meciul 100 in Liga I" (in Romanian). Gloria CF. 23 May 2009. 
  22. ^ "Dupa ce nu s-a inteles cu Steaua, Sanmartean a revenit la Gloria" (in Romanian). gsp.ro. 8 July 2009. 
  23. ^ "Prima victorie pentru Ceahlaul" (in Romanian). Mediafax. 19 September 2009. 
  24. ^ "Egal in fata ultimei clasate" (in Romanian). Mediafax. 4 October 2009. 
  25. ^ "Sanmartean out de la Gloria" (in Romanian). prosport.ro. 2 December 2009. 
  26. ^ "Lucian Sanmartean a semnat cu FC Vaslui" (in Romanian). Vaslui FC. 23 December 2009. 
  27. ^ "Vasluiul l-a luat si pe Dinu Sanmartean" (in Romanian). ProSport. 11 February 2009. 
  28. ^ "Vedetele lui Porumboiu s-au impotmolit la Medias" (in Romanian). Sport.ro. 21 February 2010. 
  29. ^ "Lacatus se bate iar la titlu" (in Romanian). Sport.ro. 18 March 2010. 
  30. ^ "Lacatus salvat" (in Romanian). Sport.ro. 22 March 2009. 
  31. ^ "Vasluiul in finala" (in Romanian). Adevarul. 15 April 2010. 
  32. ^ "Vasluiul prinde podiumul" (in Romanian). Onlinesport. 22 May 2010. 
  33. ^ "CFR castiga cupa" (in Romanian). Onlinesport. 27 May 2010. 
  34. ^ "Vise de marire" (in Romanian). ProSport. 19 August 2010. 
  35. ^ "Vasluiul scos din Europa de Lille" (in Romanian). Onlinesport. 26 August 2010. 
  36. ^ "Primul obiectiv ratat" (in Romanian). Obiectivul de Vaslui. 23 September 2010. 
  37. ^ "Un meci nebun" (in Romanian). Romania Libera. 16 October 2010. 
  38. ^ "Vaslui 2–0 Urziceni" (in Romanian). Mediafax. 1 April 2011. 
  39. ^ "De doi bani speranta" (in Romanian). ProSport. 15 May 2011. 
  40. ^ "Si-au respectat blazonul" (in Romanian). Vremea Noua. 23 May 2011. 
  41. ^ "Sanmartean rateaza startul de campionat" (in Romanian). Romanian Soccer. 9 July 2011. 
  42. ^ "Oscar cu sala goala" (in Romanian). ProSport. 22 July 2011. 
  43. ^ "Vasluiul, ce minune!" (in Romanian). ProSport. 18 August 2011. 
  44. ^ "I-a calcat in picioare" (in Romanian). Vremea Noua. 12 September 2011. 
  45. ^ "Sanmartean si-a prelungit contractul" (in Romanian). Gazeta Sporturilor. 18 November 2011. 
  46. ^ "FC Vaslui echipa superlativelor" (in Romanian). Vremea Noua. 9 December 2011. 
  47. ^ "Sânmărtean şi Wesley, cei mai buni fotbalişti din Liga I!" (in Romanian). ProSport. 19 December 2011. 
  48. ^ "Sânmărtean considera anul 2011 maximul carierei sale" (in Romanian). Gazeta Sporturilor. 22 December 2011. 
  49. ^ "Peste 100 000 de cititori ProSport au decis" (in Romanian). ProSport. 3 January 2012. 
  50. ^ "Fotbal, numele jocului" (in Romanian). Vremea Noua. 10 March 2012. 
  51. ^ "Sanmartean a pasat, Vasluiul s-a calificat" (in Romanian). Vremea Noua. 16 March 2012. 
  52. ^ "Steaua-Concordia Chiajna 4-0 / Sânmărtean a înscris la debut" (in Romanian). TVR.ro. 14 February 2014. 
  53. ^ "Sânmărtean a câştigat primul titlu de campion în România" (in Romanian). fanatik.ro. 8 May 2014. 
  54. ^ "Sanmartean a semnat cu Al Ittihad. Steaua il pierde si pe Szukala!" (in Romanian). enational.ro. 4 January 2015. 
  55. ^ "Fotbal: Steaua se desparte de Szukala și Sânmărtean" (in Romanian). Agerpres. 14 January 2015. 
  56. ^ "Ne-am impiedicat din nou de Croatia" (in Romanian). Adevarul. 21 November 2002. 
  57. ^ "Sanmartean revine la nationala dupa 8 ani" (in Romanian). prosport.ro. 1 June 2011. 
  58. ^ "Petitie pentru convocarea lui Lucian Sanmartean la Nationala". facebook.com. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  59. ^ "Sanmartean convocat la nationala de fani" (in Romanian). gsp.ro. 20 August 2011. 
  60. ^ "Sanmartean uitat de Piturca" (in Romanian). vrn.ro. 30 August 2011. 
  61. ^ "Lucian Sanmartean si Maria Rus o pereche cu acte in regula" (in Romanian). citynews.ro. 14 April 2010. 
  62. ^ "EDIŢIE DE COLECŢIE A GAZETEI » Iată laureaţii Superlativelor GSP 2014! Tolontan îl elogiază pe stranierul anului" [SPECIAL GAZETA EDITION » Here are the GSP Superlatives winners for 2014! Tolontan praises the foreigner of the year]. Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 22 December 2014. 

External links[edit]