Dobrin with Argeș Pitești in the 1970s
|Date of birth||26 August 1947|
|Place of birth||Pitești, Romania|
|Date of death||26 October 2007(aged 60)|
|Place of death||Pitești, Romania|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midifielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Nicknamed Gâscanul ("The Gander") or Prințul din Trivale ("The Prince of Trivale"), he is considered one of Romania's greatest footballers. Renowned for his dribbling ability, Dobrin received the Romanian Footballer of the Year award on three occasions, in 1966, 1967, and 1971, and has a stadium in native Pitești named after him.
Dobrin was born in Pitești, Argeș County, and he played for the first time in a First Division game when he was still 14, on 1 July 1962, in the match between Știința Cluj and Dinamo Pitești. He played for Argeș Pitești for 22 years, and only one year for another team, Târgoviște; Dobrin refused to play for any other First Division clubs, such as Dinamo Bucharest or Universitatea Craiova. Dobrin's contribution was essential to the 1979 Championship win for FC Argeș, when he scored in extra time to defeat Dinamo 4–3. Dobrin took the ball from the middle of the pitch, knocked off every player that tried to take the ball away from him and when he reached the penalty area he hit the ball so accurate that it went past the goalkeeper Aniței, hit the left post and entered the goal. The ball had a message attached to it from Dobrin to the Aniței. The message was:"Leave it there because there's nothing you can do about it." This was just one of Dobrin's many ways of humiliating his opponents.
During his whole career, Dobrin played 409 matches, scoring 111 goals in all. He was named Romanian Player of the Year in 1966, 1967 and 1971. He played his last game on 14 June 1983, when FC Argeș faced Bihor Oradea (the match ended 2–0 in favor of FC Argeș). In 2007, Dobrin was the technical director of FC Argeș.
Dobrin is also known for famously missing out on a transfer to Real Madrid. After playing them in a European Cup game and scoring a goal, Santiago Bernabéu, their famous president was so impressed with Dobrin's skills that he wanted to transfer him to the Spanish team for a reported fee of $ 2 million, a huge amount of money for that time. Because of the communist regime in Romania in that period, Bernabéu had to hold talks with Nicolae Ceaușescu himself, but could not persuade him, because Dobrin was regarded as a "national treasure" and such values could not be "estranged", especially not working for foreigners, according to the communist doctrine of that time. It is said that this was the biggest regret of Dobrin's life, although he did eventually end up playing in Gento's testimonial, in the famous "blanco" shirt of Real Madrid. On this occasion Santiago Bernabéu made a last unsuccessful attempt to keep the Romanian player in Madrid.
Dobrin played 48 games for the Romanian national team, scoring six times, and contributed to Romania's qualification for the 1970 FIFA World Cup. However, he did not play in it even though he was in the finals squad.
Dobrin died on 26 October 2007 in the intensive care unit of the County Hospital in Piteşti. This came as a result of multiple organ failure, in turn caused by lung cancer. On 29 October 2007, his funeral ceremony, held at St. George's Cathedral and at St. George's Military Cemetery, was attended by more than 5,000 people (including Nicolae Dică & Adrian Neaga from Steaua Bucharest and Dănuț Coman from Rapid Bucharest who were coached by Dobrin in their youth years).
- Argeș Pitești
- "Nicolae Dobrin – Player profile". Romanian Soccer: History & Stats. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
- "Dobrin rumano del Arges Pitesti, puede ser jugador del Real Madrid la proxima temporada". ABC.es (in Spanish). 10 June 1973. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
- "Los mejores del mundo se visten de blanco en la despedida de Gento". Elmundo.es (in Spanish). 15 December 2008. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
- "Comuniştii au blocat transferurile românilor". Adevărul (in Romanian). 14 November 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
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