June 27, Hagi’s first and last day at Real. “I should never have left Madrid! I had adapted very well, I had scored many goals, but … ”

Article by Adrian Florea, Liviu Manolache – Published Monday, June 27, 2022, 09:45 / Updated Monday, June 27, 2022 10:59

On June 27, 1990, Real Madrid presented the most important acquisition of the summer: Gica Hagi. Even if they had just won the Primera Division, with a huge lead over the pursuers Valencia, Barcelona and Atletico, the leaders of the “whites” had decided to make important changes in the group.

The most “heavy” names sacrificed were Martín Vasquez, sold in Turin, and Bernd Schuster, let go for free at Atletico. Under these conditions, they desperately needed a man to bring fantasy to the middle of the field. And the chosen one was “Maradona from the Carpathians”, bought with 4 million dollars from Steaua.

Unfortunately, President Ramón Mendoza transferred Gică Hagi somewhat over the head of coach John Toshack, and this would be seen in the Romanian coach’s relationship with the Welsh coach. Toshack had vehemently asked John Barnes of Liverpool, but the Jamaican-born English star refused to give Anfield the “Bernabéu”.

A modest first year for Gica Hagi at Real Madrid

Because a significant amount had been paid to him, and there was no other real playmaker in the group, Hagi has been a starter since the beginning of the ’90 -’91 season. But his performances did not live up to expectations and, little by little, he lost his place in the first “11”.

Between September 1990 and April 1991, Gica scored only two goals. Both in the championship, with the modest Zaragoza and Castellón. In the European Champions Cup, no success in four appearances. In two other games, 0-0 and 1-3 with Spartak Moscow, he was not even in the group!

In the King’s Cup, our “King” did not catch a minute on the turf at 1-1 and 0-1 with Atletico. And in the Spanish Super Cup, 0-1 and 4-1 with Barcelona, ​​he was sent into battle only in the lost round at the Camp Nou. And then only in the 86th minute. Still enough to pass the only trophy with “Los Merengues”.

Toshack was no longer on the bench, he had been replaced in November 1990 by Alfredo Di Stéfano. Unfortunately, the former great Madrid striker did not have much eye for Hagi either.

“King” with Radomir Antic

Gica’s chance was called Radomir Antić. The Serb took over Real at the end of March 1991 and immediately bet on the Romanian. Which, feeling appreciated, became the football player who amazed Europe with Steaua in previous years.

At the end of that season he scored two more goals, but what was better would follow in ’91 -’92.

The numbers say almost everything. In Primera, the number of successes tripled, 12. Including a “triple” sensation at a match with Bilbao.

In the UEFA Cup, where the Iberian group reached the threshold of the semifinals, another 3 goals: 1-0 with Utrecht, 4-0 with Xamax and 2-1 with Torino. And in the King’s Cup, a success with the head, at 5-2 with Gijón, from the return of the semifinals.

Hagi seemed to have conquered Madrid for good. And yet, in the summer of ’92, he decided to leave Spain and go to Italy, to Brescia Romena prepared by Mircea Lucescu.

At Steaua, Gică was number 1. At the Romanian national team, as well. At Real, he found himself in a group with fantastic players, but where they led 3-4 names: Michel, Sanchez, Butragueño, Hierro. He was no longer the leader
Mircea Lucescu, for GSP, in May 2020

Decisive failures. How Hagi said goodbye to Real Madrid

The reasons? Most importantly, Antić had been fired and replaced by Leo Beenhakker. Losing his moral support, Gica felt alone again. Lucescu’s insistence was also decisive.

I convinced him to come to Brescia, I said to him: “Come with me for two years and you will see what level you will be at!”. He also needed a special training, at Real they were all such good players that they didn’t need to be very high physically. Those were good anyway, even unprepared
Mircea Lucescu, for GSP, in May 2020

A decisive factor was the drama experienced by Real in the last stage of the ’91 -’92 edition. Although they had a 2-0 break at Tenerife, one of the goals even bearing Hagi’s signature, the team from the capital gave up amazingly in the second half, 2-3, so the title landed in the window of the great rival FC Barcelona!

With crumbling morale, the “whites” lost the last game of the season, the Cup final with Atletico, 0-2. It happened on June 27, ’92. Exactly two years after he was introduced, Gica took a “Goodbye!” to love Real Madrid.

“At Real, as at Barcelona, ​​they instilled in me the mentality of being the best”

The fact that I lost the championship and the Cup in the last two matches of the season clearly influenced my decision to leave Real. A decision that I now regret one hundred percent, but life is made of decisions and opportunities, that’s what I thought then
Gica Hagi, on Radio Marca, in March 2021

The second year in Madrid was very good for me. I scored a lot of goals in Europe, in the Primera, I had adapted very well to Spanish football. Undoubtedly, Antić was the one who understood me best. He put me behind Butragueño, I felt very at ease and I was responsible for coordinating the game. Antić’s change did not seem normal to me
Gica Hagi, on Radio Marca, in March 2021

At Real, as at Barcelona, ​​by the way, they instilled in me the mentality of being the best. They shaped my character. I love both clubs the same. They are the largest on the planet, I’m proud to have evolved for both
Gica Hagi, on Radio Marca, in March 2021

After two years with me in Brescia, just a few days before the start of the ’94 World Cup, I said to him: “You are 100% ready, you will be one of the most important players of this tournament”. I was right. If I passed Sweden, Hagi was declared the MVP of that World Cup
Mircea Lucescu, for GSP, in May 2020

In Madrid there is competition every second. Fantastic competition. You’re not paying attention, the other one is entering
Gica Hagi, at “Friends of Ovid”, in December 2020

Trophies are won by the team, not by one individual or another, no matter how good it is.
Gica Hagi, at “Friends of Ovid”, in December 2020

The transfer to Real was fundamental for my development. There you learn to become the best in the world, every day. That’s the highest level of competition
Gica Hagi, at “Friends of Ovid”, in December 2020

84of matches, 20 goals, 10 “yellow”, two “red”, a trophy (Spanish Super Cup) is Hagi’s record at Real

6,701minutes played in total Gica in the Madrid shirt. In comparison, in the two years spent in Barcelona (’94 -’96), it evolved only 3,509 minutes

READ OTHER GSP RETRO EPISODES:

30 years since Hagi’s last goal for Steaua. The strange coincidence that binds him to the red-blues

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