“I am a legend, not a statue!”

Article by Adrian Florea, Liviu Manolache – Posted on Friday, June 03, 2022, 09:10 / Updated on Friday, June 3, 2022 10:17

On June 3, 1998, the Romanian national team played the penultimate test before the World Cup in France. In front of only 12,000 people present at the Steaua stadium, the “tricolors” defeated Paraguay 3-2, but the score did not interest almost anyone. During and at the end of the match, the conflict between the fans and the players and the one between the players and the press reached unprecedented levels.

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The first spark appeared in the 27th minute, when Cristi Dulca made a mistake in the 1-1 success of the South Americans. Immediately, the tribunes from Ghencea started to boo at every touch of the ball the defender of Rapid’s rivals.

After 64 minutes, Bogdan Stelea found the back of the goal with a beautiful free kick. “Arnold” did not control his nerves and, in reply, waved his middle fingers several times from both hands to the opponents!

Iordănescu had signed with Greece

In the last half hour, the actual match took place just because the rules say so. The spectators also took the coach Anghel Iordănescu in collimation, about whom he had found out that he had signed with the Greek national team, where he would arrive immediately after the final tournament in Hexagon.

The post-game press conference was incendiary. For almost half an hour, Iordănescu and especially Hagi “machine-gunned” the journalists, considered the main culprits because the microbes distanced themselves from the national team. The first reproaches were from Puiu:

I apologize on behalf of Stelea, and tomorrow I promise you that you will have his apologies, but that does not change the reaction of the stands.

We are in front of a World Championship from which you have very high expectations, and the players need your love and appreciation, but they have too little of that.

24 years since Stelea showed her middle fingers to the spectators, and Hagi asked for a statue »In 2015, when a bust was made for her, the“ King ”declared:“ I am a legend, not a statue!  We made you happy

“His thoughts were only with the baby”

Do you know that Stelea has a child in the hospital ?! And his thoughts and concentration were only on the baby … I put him to play just because I needed another check, with all the players. And that’s my problem, not yours!

Do you know that Dulca came to me from the 25th minute to ask for a change ?!

Then Hagi entered the scene:

Everything that happens, everything that people do in the stands is because of you, the press! We play for Romania, me! You, the press and the television, did what you wanted us to do!

Show everything, houses, villas, money, what ?! It’s our money, it’s not yours, me! We worked for them

Dude, boy, don’t grimace, don’t grimace, don’t grimace with your mustache! You told us in every way that we were crooked, that we jumped the tram lines when we came to Bucharest.

Hagi: “I got used to you badly”

I’m used to being too stupid! For 10 years, in the conditions in which we are in Romania … We are the series leader at the World Cup and you don’t value us, because of you the public swears at us, and the players can’t play

Stelea reacted the way she did because of you. We’re stressed … Let us play, because we’re doing well. Let’s see how you do it …

Keep up with the national team and put us in a good mood, because we deserve it! We deserve to be made a statue, me! What we have been doing for 10 years, in the conditions in Romania, social and everything you want, you have to make a statue of us! In 2-3 years, our football is going … Zero!

“The results” sing “with us”

There are some who can no longer play in the national team because of the grandstand … the grandstand that in the newspapers … You make us think that we are old, that money is given to coaches to be selected … Many, many, that the boys no longer support.

The results “sing” with us, you should keep with us at least now, as long as the World Cup. After that, do as you please!

Make the world come to the stadium! Without bringing the world to the stadium we are dead, all Romanian football is dead! Yugoslavia played at home with Nigeria and had 80,000 spectators, why are we playing with 5,000 ?!

I was not sung ode, the truth was told! What, I did something wrong and they sang ode to me ?!

Immediately after that conference, the footballers and the staff of the national team entered the silenzio stampa, including during the World Cup. In France, Romania defeated Colombia (1-0) and England (2-1), drew with Tunisia (1-1), after which it was eliminated by Croatia (0-1), in the round of 16.

In 2015, a statue was made of Hagi: “I am a legend, not a statue! We made you happy “

24 years since Stelea showed her middle fingers to the spectators, and Hagi asked for a statue »In 2015, when a bust was made for her, the“ King ”declared:“ I am a legend, not a statue!  We made you happy

The “king” saw his dream with his own eyes in April 2015, when Steaua’s fans made a bust of him. The gesture was a gift to Hagi, who turned 50 on February 5th. “I am not a statue, I am a legend! I was part of the generation that made you happy. We were the generation that wrote history. Point!”Gica said at the time.

I was on the side of the “tricolors” in this battle with the press and the public, but I can’t help but notice how hard it is to change the mindsets of our leading athletes in their relations with the free press and the unexpected public.

Hagi and Iordănescu were basically right, just as the journalist is right to do his job. Often unfriendly job.

The audience? He does exactly what cuts his head off when he is in front of the national team and behaves as if he is in front of all the national issues.

– Adrian Păunescu, in Gazeta Sporturilor from June 10, 1998

I was constantly provoked, we also have the child in the hospital, he had a complication after a chicken pox … Even so, I didn’t have to give up. I had to control myself. I was sorry then for what I did, I’m sorry now.

– Bogdan Stelea, in 2017, for ProSport Live

Romania – Paraguay 3-2 (1-1)

24 years since Stelea showed her middle fingers to the spectators, and Hagi asked for a statue »In 2015, when a bust was made for her, the“ King ”declared:“ I am a legend, not a statue!  We made you happy
  • They scored: Ad. Ilie (4 ‘, 57′), Hagi (84’-pen) / Cardozo (27 ‘), Acuña (64’)
  • Romania: Stelea (Salamanca) – D. Petrescu (Chelsea), Filipescu (Galatasaray), Gh. Popescu (Galatasaray), Dulca (Rapid), D. Munteanu (FC Köln) / 81 ‘I. Dumitrescu (Atlante) – Gâlcă (Espanyol ), G. Popescu (Salamanca) / 60 ‘Left (PSV), Gh. Hagi (Galatasaray) / 89’ L. Ciobotariu (Dinamo) – V. Moldovan (Coventry) / 60 ‘Lăcătuș (Steaua), Ad. Ilie (Valencia) / 70 ‘Craioveanu (Sociedad).
  • coach: Anghel Iordănescu
  • Paraguay: Chilavert (59 ‘Ruiz Diaz) – Arce, Sarabia, Rivarola, Gamarra, Enciso – Benitez (78’ Yegros), Acuña, Paredes (59 ‘Caniza) – Cardozo (59’ Brizuela), Ramirez (86 ‘Campos).
  • coach: Paulo César Carpegiani
  • Referee: Juhos (Hungary)
  • Stadium: The star. Spectators: 12,000

The famous VIDEO with Anghel Iordănescu and Gică Hagi

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