Mircea Lucescu Biography
He is the four-time Romania Coach of the Year winner and one of the best coaches in the world. In this article, we will take a look at Mircea Lucescu biography.
Mircea Lucescu, born 29 July 1945 in Bucharest, is a Romanian former footballer who played as a striker during his career, and a football coach. Lucescu is a graduate of Bucharest University with a degree in economics.
For fourteen years as a player, he represented Dinamo Bucharest. Having finished his football career, he began working as a coach. He made his first steps in this profession as the manager of the Romanian national team, with whom he was the first coach in their history to qualify for the European Championship.
He has worked primarily overseas since the 1990s. For nearly eight years he managed Italian teams (including Inter Milan), but his biggest achievements were with teams from Turkey and Ukraine. With these teams, he won the national championships (seven in total) and international competitions. He won the UEFA Super Cup with Galatasaray SK and the UEFA Cup with Shakhtar Donetsk.
He was ranked 46th in the IFFHS ranking of the best football coach in the world in the years 1996-2010, together with his fellow countryman Anghel Iordănescu. He was 31st in a similar list covering 2001-2010. He is the father of Răzvan Lucescu, a retired football player and coach, who was the Romanian national team manager between 2009 and 2011.
He is the oldest coach in the history of the UEFA Champions League. He ranks among the top 15 coaches by the number of wins in the UEFA Champions League (14th). As a coach, he has 35 trophies. Only Alex Ferguson, who has 49 titles in 39 years, is ahead of him.
All You Need to Know About Mircea Lucescu Biography
Lucescu became the fifth man to coach 100 UEFA Champions League matches in 2015, following Alex Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti, Arsène Wenger and José Mourinho.
Mircea Lucescu Information
Now that we know the Romanian coach much better, in this section of
Mircea Lucescu biography
we will share more general information about him such as
Mircea Lucescu nationality
to let you know him even better.
Mircea Lucescu Bio
Full Name: Mircea Lucescu
Profession: Professional Football Coach
Mircea Lucescu Physical Stats
Weight: 82 Kg
Height: 1.77 m
Eye Color: Light Brown
Hair Color: Grey
Mircea Lucescu Football Information
Jersey Number: 9
Professional Debut: 1963
Mircea Lucescu Date of Birth and Personal Info
Date of Birth: 29 July 1945
Birth Place: Bucharest, Romania
Zodiac Sign: Leo
Now stay tuned to this section of
Mircea Lucescu biography
as we want to share some info about
Mircea Lucescu childhood
Mircea Lucescu Early Life
He was born in Bucharest on July 29, 1945. He had three brothers and a sister, and his family was poor. Mircea Lucescu confessed in interviews that he used to run barefoot in the summer because shoes were a luxury and toys had to be created by hand.
During a student tournament, Dynamo scouts in Bucharest discovered a brilliant young man. Lucescu was a member of the sports school No. 2 team, from which he obtained an offer to one of Romania's most prestigious football clubs.
On June 21, 1964, the 18-year-old striker earned his top-flight debut in the match between Dynamo (Bucharest) and Rapid (Bucharest) which ended 5-2. During the 1963/64 season, he participated in another match, as well as another the following year. Dynamo won the Romanian championship in these two seasons.
Lucescu was loaned to the second division club "Stiinza" in 1965 to gain playing experience. In the 1965/66 season, the club came in second in League II, their greatest finish in postwar history. The team was renamed "Polytechnic" the following season and finished fifth in the second division. Lucescu appeared in 39 games for the squad in two seasons, scoring 12 goals.
When Mircea returned to Dynamo just before the 1967/68 season, he was becoming more engaged in the club's matches (17 appearances and 1 goal in the league), and the squad won the Romanian Cup that year.
The capital's "Rapid" triumphed 1: 0 in the final on June 16, 1968, and head coach Basil Marian substituted Lucescu with Nicolae Nadia in the 77th minute to strengthen the attack. Dynamo scored a minute later to tie the game and bring the game to extra time. Lucescu scored a brace in the 115th and 116th minutes to give Romania a 3:1 victory and another championship.
Lucescu then became the primary player of the capital's club the following season, scoring 8 goals in 28 league matches and winning the title of Romania's best player in 1969. He also started his career in European Cups, playing one match in the Cup Winners' Cup.
Throughout his career, Lucescu remained with Dynamo Bucharest until 1977, earning four more Romanian league championships with the club, the most notable of which was achieved in the 1972/73 season, when he had his best season with the team, scoring 12 goals in 28 games. He also participated in the Champions Cup, UEFA Cup, and Fair Cup with the club.
Lucescu finished his playing career in Corvinul (Hunedoara), where he served as a player-coach in his latest days and led the squad to its greatest ever achievement - a third-place finish in the Romanian league - in the 1981/82 season.
On May 16, 1990, Lucescu participated in a symbolic farewell game for Dynamo Bucharest, as he had been managing Dynamo for a few seasons at the time, and had earned the Romanian league title for the very first time as a coach in 1990. He thus became the oldest player in Romanian football history when he entered the ground in a match versus "Sportul Studentsesk" at the age of nearly 45 years.
Now stay tuned to this section of
Mircea Lucescu biography
as we want to share some info about his national team career.
Romanian National Team
Lucescu made hisRomanian national team
debut on November 2, 1966, against Switzerland in a Euro 1968 qualification match (4: 2). Mircea netted his first goal for the national team in a game versus Cyprus on December 3 as part of the same squad (5: 1).
On January 15, 1969, in a friendly game against England (1: 1) at the renowned "Wembley," Lucescu became the team's first captain. Lucescu, who also served as captain, attended the 1970 World Cup in Mexico and played in all three matches, but was unable to assist his team advance from their group.
It was Romania's first World Cup since 1938, and they were drawn in a group with the Czechoslovaks, England, the then world champions, and the Brazilian team led by Pele, who finally won the title. Despite the fact that his team fell 2: 3 to the Brazilians, Lucescu was able to swap T-shirts with Pele after the game. In addition, from 1973 to 1976, Lucescu was a key member of the Romanian national squad, who finished second in the Balkan Cup.
Lucescu and his side competed in four European Championship qualifications (1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980) and three World Cup qualifiers (1970, 1974, and 1978), however, Romanians did not qualify for any major tournament until the 1970 World Cup. Lucescu played his final match for Romania in the qualifiers for Euro-1980 versus Spain on April 4, 1979. (2: 2). He appeared in a total of 70 national team matches and scored nine goals.
Mircea Lucescu Profile
He was named head coach of the Romanian national team in 1981. With him in charge, the Romanians were able to win the 1984 UEFA European Championship qualifying group, outperforming some strong teams such as Sweden, Czechoslovakia and Italy.
Owing to these results, the Romanian national team qualified for the finals of the biggest European tournament for the first time in 14 years, and this qualification for the UEFA European Championship was their first-ever.
Lucescu's side was close to making it to the finals of the World Cup in Mexico, however, on 16 October 1985, they lost the decisive match to their arch-rivals - Northern Ireland - with a score of 0-1, and finished one point behind them. Lucescu had been with the team for another six months before leaving his post.
While being the national team's head coach, Lucescu was appointed head coach of one of Romania's leading clubsDinamo Bucharest
in the summer of 1985. Following the first season, Mircea managed to win his first coaching trophy, namely the Romanian Cup with a victory in the final match against Steaua - a major rival of Dinamo - with a score of 1:0.
However, in the national league, the team was not in the top three for the first time in a long time. In the following three seasons Dinamo was runners-up each time, winning the Romanian league silver medals and becoming the finalist of the National Cup.
The long-expected success finally came in 1990: the team managed not only to win the double for the first time in six years, but also made it to the Cup Winners' Cup, and reached the semifinals, before losing in a bitter struggle to Belgium's Anderlecht.
Following his success with Dinamo, Serie A clubs began to turn their attention to Lucescu. The Romanian coach spent the next six years of his career in Italy but failed to fully prove himself. He took charge of a modest club,Pisa
, which was relegated to Serie B in the summer of 1990, only to be sacked a month before the end of the league season.
Several months later, Lucescu joined another Serie B side,Brescia
, as head coach. Brescia managed to be promoted to Serie A twice (1992 and 1994) but both times they failed to stay in this competition and were relegated. He resigned on 19 February 1995, after failing to take the Swallows to the next level.
Lucescu, despite two setbacks, stayed in Italy to take charge of Serie B sideReggiana
before the start of the next season. He remained in charge for less than six months this time and the team were unable to score a single win under his guidance. On 25 November 1996, Lucescu was fired from his post.
Having taken a break until the end of the season, Lucescu made the decision to return to Romania to manageRapid Bucharest
in July 1997. During their first season under Lucescu, the team won their first trophy in 23 years, clinching the Romanian Cup and also finishing runner up in the league for the first time since 1971. However, Mircea resigned at the end of the season.
Now stay tuned to this section of Mircea Lucescu biography as we want to share some info about hisInter
There was some controversy surrounding the Romanian's appointment at Inter Milan in December 1998. Lucescu succeeded 60-year-old Luigi Simoni as head coach on the same day that he was awarded the best coach ofSerie A
When Simoni led Inter to victory in the 1998 UEFA Cup final, the club was fifth in the Italian Serie A table, seven points behind leaders ACF Fiorentina. Several days earlier, his players had secured qualification for the quarter-finals of the Italian Cup and the Champions League following a 3:1 victory against Real Madrid. However, the official reason for Simoni's unexpected sacking was Inter's unimpressive style of play.
The journalists kept bringing up the fact that Lucescu had not been successful in any of the previous Italian teams. However, the Romanian rejected these accusations, saying that he should be judged by his current results. The deal he made with Inter president Massimo Moratti was that he would manage the club for six months, until July 1999, and then would become coach of the youth team. Marcello Lippi was to take his place in the first team.
The Romanian was given the opportunity to work at the club, which in the 1998-1999 season played among others national team players from Italy such as Gianluca Pagliuca, Giuseppe Bergomi and Roberto Baggio, France (Youri Djorkaeff), Argentina (Diego Simeone and Javier Zanetti), Chile (Iván Zamorano) and Portugal (Paulo Sousa).
The team's star was the 23-year-old Brazilian Ronaldo, World Cup runner-up in 1998. The Romanian had a particularly good understanding with Roberto Baggio; he even asked him to Romania to go goose hunting with him. From the start, Lucescu announced that he would expect his players to be more effective and spectacular, and also changed the formation to a more offensive 3-4-3 or 3-5-2.
Inter played with two strikers in their first match under Lucescu; his charges won 4:1 against AS Roma at the San Siro in a league encounter. At the time, journalists noted that there was an unusual situation, as both Italian clubs were managed by coaches from Eastern Europe (Roma's coach was CzechZdeněk Zeman
In the games that followed, however, Inter was winning much less frequently; from January to March 1999, the club from Milan had played thirteen matches in Serie A, of which they won only four with three draws and six defeats. Facing their main rivals in the fight for the national title, Lucescu's players either lost (0:1 against S.S. Lazio) or drew (0:0 against Juventus and 2:2 against A.C. Milan).
While the results were not the best, the spectacular style of play was hardly disputed; as a Polish journalist wrote after Inter's 5:2 victory over S.S. Lazio in the quarter-finals of the Italian Cup: "Lucescu had promised the fans a spectacular game and he kept his word." The Milanese scored plenty of goals in the winning league games (4:1 against Roma, 6:2 against AC Venezia, 5:1 against Cagliari Calcio and 5:1 against FC Empoli).
In addition to the poor performances, there were also disciplinary problems. Lucescu dismissed Portuguese Paulo Sousa from the team, who had told the media that the players did not properly know how to play. Also, journalists pointed out that "Inter has many world football stars, but they do not form an understanding collective".
Several days after Sousa was kicked out, on 21 March 1999, the players lost 0:4 in a league match against Sampdoria; and the coach immediately tendered his resignation. That left Inter in ninth place in the table. Not only did Inter fail in the league, but they also dropped out - after a two-match defeat to Manchester United (0:2 and 1:1) - of the Champions League quarter-finals.
The only achievement of the Romanian during his three-month stint at Milan was advancing to the semi-finals of the Italian Cup. Many years later, the coach admitted that in his entire career he regrets parting with Inter the most.
Return to Rapid Bucharest
Lucescu returned to the struggling Rapid just ten days after his dismissal from Inter. He managed a stunning end to the league campaign and led his side to their second league title in their history and for the first time since 1967. In the following season, Rapid failed to defend the title and Lucescu stepped down.
Now stay tuned to this section of Mircea Lucescu biography as we want to share some info about his career in Turkish clubs.
Lucescu accepted an offer from Galatasaray SK in the summer of 2000, which was the club that had won the UEFA Cup a few weeks earlier, becoming the first Turkish club to win an international competition. Fatih Terim, his predecessor, went to Italy after four successful years in Istanbul and was appointed coach of ACF Fiorentina.
Lucescu's start in Istanbul was very good; the club progressed to the Champions League group stage in one week and won 2:1 against Real Madrid in the European Super Cup match. In fact,Galatasaray
won the trophy as the first-ever UEFA Cup winner. Lucescu stated that the Turkish team won deservedly, although luck clearly favoured them.
This good run continued through the autumn of 2000, when the club advanced to the second round of the Champions League ahead of Rangers and AS Monaco and finished in first place in the Turkish league before the winter transfer window, although they were defeated in the derby (1:3) byBeşiktaş
They also made it to the semi-finals of the Turkish Cup and eventually lost in it after a penalty shootout against Fenerbahçe SK). Ultimately, their performance in the Champions League games was the best in Galatasaray's entire history; they won the second round group stage (ahead of A.C. Milan and Paris Saint-Germain) and proceeded to play in the quarter-finals.
Their opponent was Real Madrid, which at the time included Iker Casillas, Roberto Carlos, Raúl, Steve McManaman and Luís Figo. The Turkish team lost 0:2 after the first half, but, according to the press, "after the change of sides Lucescu's players showed class and character" and netted three goals. Nevertheless, in the second leg in Madrid, they lost 0:3. No other coach of Galatasaray has ever succeeded in reaching so high in the Champions League with this club afterwards.
The club's good performances on the European stage were not followed by successful matches in the league. For the first time in five years, Galatasaray was unable to defend their league title, and throughout the season their players were involved in several scandals.
With the failure of the league competition, key players began to leave the club. In the run-up to the 2001-2002 season, Galatasaray lost goalkeeper Cláudio Taffarel, striker Mário Jardel, playmaker Emre Belözoğlu, and sometime later also Gheorghe Popescu, Ümit Davala and Hakan Ünsal. Meanwhile, in the summer of 2001, Gheorghe Hagi retired from football. Joining the list of new players were the coach's fellow countryman, Radu Niculescu, and three Colombians, Faryd Mondragón, Jersson González and Gustavo Victoria.
Galatasaray regained the title of champion in the second season, despite having lost against the league leaders, and also played well in the Champions League, reaching the second group stage. There, the team was undefeated in the first five games, drawing five times and only losing 0:1 in the last round, denying "Barcelona" the opportunity to go to the quarterfinals. Galatasaray sacked Lucescu after that season and replaced him withFatih Terim
, their former coach.
On the other hand, Besiktas, one of Galatasaray's two primary rivals, hired Lucescu. Besiktas had a historic season in 2003, as the Turkish club honoured its 100th anniversary. Lucescu recruited Brazilian Antonio Carlos Zago and Frenchman Pascal Noum, and also his countrymen Daniel Punk, with whom he had previously worked at Rapid.
They won the league in the club's anniversary season, losing only one time and collecting 85 points, a Super League record for a single season. In addition, Besiktas of Lucescu reached the UEFA Cup quarterfinals the same season, which was also the club's biggest success in its history.
The 2003-04 season got off to a great start as well. Besiktas finished 8 points ahead of Fenerbahce at the end of the first round, with 13 victories and four ties in 17 games. Besiktas also did well in the Champions League, when they overcame Chelsea 2-0 in England and drew 1-1 with Lazio in Rome in the group stage.
Besiktas was only in second place before the last match and could win the group stage if they prevailed. However, due to the terrorist bombings in Istanbul, the team was forced to play a crucial game in Germany, where they were beaten by Chelsea 0: 2 without the backing of its fans.
Besiktas Even a 1-0 victory would have favoured them, but in the 93rd minute, Marek Kinzl scored for Lazio, giving the Czechs a 1-0 victory, allowing them to leapfrog Besiktas and into second place, while the Turks finished third and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
On January 25, Besiktas began the second round of the league competition in a match against Samsunspor. With a 1: 1 score at the end of the first half, three Besiktas players (Zago, Ahmet Yildirim, and Ibrahim Yuzulmez) were substituted, and Besiktas suffered three more goals (1: 4), after which Punk was also sent off, and finally Ilkhan Mansiz was substituted.
As a result, five Besiktas players were sent off, the match was called off, and "Samsunspor" was awarded a technical victory (4: 0). Besiktas, which was lost for the first time in the league campaign in this match, was unable to recover from such a setback, and Lucescu was unable to halt the slide.
He criticized the Turkish Football Federation for allowing referees to make decisions on their own. As a result, the team finished third in the league, 14 points below Fenerbahce, and was eliminated in the first round of the UEFA Cup by Valencia (2: 3, 0: 2). Lucescu opted to leaveTurkey
after a dismal second half of the season, saying that his title had been stolen.
Between 2004 and 2016 Lucescu managed the Ukrainian club Shakhtar. He based his team on the talent of Brazilian offensive players and won 21 national trophies with the club including 8 Ukrainian league championships, 6 national cups and 7 national super cups, thus overcoming the historical dominance of Dinamo Kiev in Ukrainian football. Under his leadership,Shakhtar Donetsk
also won the 2008-2009 UEFA Cup in the Istanbul final on 20 May 2009 against Werder Bremen finishing 2-1 after extra time.
He left Shakhtar Donetsk on 21 May 2016 after twelve years and signed a two-year contract with the Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg three days later. During his first year on the bench of the Russian team, he managed to win the Russian Supercup against CSKA Moscow at the beginning of the season and placed third in the league, which resulted in qualification for the Europa League. The Russian club decided to terminate the contract with the Romanian coach on 28 May 2017.
Lucescu took charge of the Turkish national team on 2 August 2017. The Romanian's contract was signed on a 2+1 basis. The Turkish national team lost their first match under Lucescu on 2 September 2017 to Ukraine 0-2 in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
The Turkish national team then participated in the historical first draw of the 2018/19 UEFA League of Nations. The Turks were placed in League B, where they competed in Group 2 against the national sides of Russia and Sweden. The Turks were a complete failure in the competition, winning only one of their four games and finishing bottom in their group with three points, missing out on the third division only due to a change in the event's format.
Lucescu coached the Turkish national team for the final time on November 20, 2018. It was a symbolic match, as his first match, against Ukraine's national team, albeit it was a friendly match this time and concluded in a 0: 0 draw. The contract of Lucescu with the Turkish federation was mutually terminated on February 11, 2019. He managed the Turkish national team in 17 games, winning four and losing seven.
He was appointed as the new coach ofDinamo Kiev
on 23 July 2020, but stepped down from the post just four days later, after noticing the hostility of the club's fans because of his history with Shakhtar. Nevertheless, following the intervention of president Ihor Surkis, Lucescu changed his mind and retained his position as coach of the Ukrainian capital club.
He guided the team to victory in the Ukrainian Super Cup in 2020. During Dinamo-Juventus's 21 October 2020Champions League
match, he became the oldest coach in the competition at the age of 75 years, 2 months and 21 days, beating the previous record of Jupp Heynckes.
Dinamo clinched the Ukrainian 2020-2021 league title three games before the end, making them Ukraine's 16th champion. As a result, Dinamo Kiev shattered the reign of Shakhtar and moved ahead of them by 11 points.
In addition, Dinamo Kiev won the Ukrainian Cup under the leadership of Lucescu, defeating Luhansk "Zorya" 1: 0 in extra time in the final. By doing so, Lucescu won a historic treble with Dinamo Kiev. As a result, Lucescu became the only coach in history to win the Ukrainian league and cup with Both Shakhtar and Dinamo.
Style of Play
Lucescu’s teams always play entertaining and attacking football. This was especially noticed during his time at Inter where he managed to heavily change the playing style of the Milanese team.
He is widely regarded as the best head coach in the history of Romanian football, with all the achievements he has had so far during his career.
Mircea Lucescu outside Football
One would think that any footballer would love expensive cars. But that is not the case with Lucescu. He would rather ride in an ordinary Mercedes with a private chauffeur. However, everyone knows the story that happened in early 2012, when Lucescu crashed into a tram in Bucharest with his car.
Lucescu is quite indifferent to any luxury items. But his only passion is watches. In 2010, Rinat Akhmetov, president of Shakhtar club presented the coach with a Swiss Vacheron Constantin Malte Tourbillon watch in a platinum case with a sapphire crystal and a crocodile leather strap. The watch was worth around $100,000.
Lucescu is a great lover of literature. He says that it is literature that has brought him up. Lucescu spends all his free time reading, and he likes to buy Italian books which he knows well. He is fond of reading his memoirs.
Mircea is a very versatile person with excellent taste. He's not only interested in literature, but also in painting. He has a large collection of paintings in his house, some of which date back to the 16th century.
Mircea Lucescu Personal Life
In this section of Mircea Lucescu biography, we will take a deeper look into his personal life and share some information about things like
Mircea Lucescu life story
Mircea Lucescu religion
, stay tuned.
Family, Children and Relationships
Mircea met his wife Nellie while they were students. According to his wife, they first saw each other in the student cafeteria. They got married following an accelerated procedure: straight after classes at university he and his bride dropped by the registry office, where the couple said "yes" to each other, exchanged rings and got married. They are now almost married for around 54 years.
Their son Razvan is also a coach. He was a former player who spent his career playing as a goalkeeper. At the moment, he is the head coach of the Greek club PAOK.
Mircea Lucescu is heavily involved in charitable projects. In Donetsk, as part of the foundation's No to Orphanhood! Lucesco and his players opened two family-type children's homes. Besides, he also tries to help hospitals by buying equipment for the cardiology and oncology departments.
There are no reports of any legal issues or disputes regarding Mircea Lucescu in the media.
Mircea Lucescu Career Statistics
In this section of Mircea Lucescu biography, we will take a deeper look into his career stats, both as an international and club player.
In his playing days, Lucescu has made a total of 416 appearances for many clubs and scored 93 goals as a winger.
For 13 years between 1966 and 1979, he was part of the Romanian national team, making 70 appearances and scoring 9 goals.
He has a great win ratio of around 63 percent with 672 wins, 198 draws and 202 defeats in a total of 1072 matches as of 11 August 2021.
Mircea Lucescu Honors
As a player, he has won the Divizia A and Romanian Cup on several occasions. His most notable trophies as a coach include Serie B,Turkish Süper Lig
, UEFA Super Cup, Ukrainian Premier League, Ukrainian Cup, UEFA Cup and many others.
He has also won the European Coach of the Year – Alf Ramsey Award in 2009 and the Romania Coach of the Year award on several occasions.
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