the farce that endangered his career, the astrology teacher who saved him from arrest and how he integrated into Steaua

Article by Aurelian Botezatu – Published Tuesday, June 28, 2022, 09:19 / Updated Tuesday, June 28, 2022 11:00

Marcel Răducanu (67 years old) tells for GSP.RO more or less known moments that marked his life and career, during his junior year, at Steaua, at the national team and at Borussia Dortmund.

Marcel Răducanu is a real book with football stories. Just as he once enchanted with dribbling on the grass, so he “catches” you now, at the age of 67, with his memories.

Gazeta Sportulilor challenged the former Romanian international to a trip back in time, to put together the most important moments of a fabulous career. “Written” during his junior year, then at Steaua, Borussia Dortmund or the Romanian national team.


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Two gestures that could cost him his career. Francis Fabian, the guardian angel

Marcel Răducanu endangered his football career during his junior year. However, he was lucky, every time, with the coach Francisc Fabian, from the Children and Juniors Center “23 August”, under whose guidance he trained and played from 9 and a half to 18 years, when he arrived at Steaua .

“Once they took me to the national junior team, in training, in Râșnov. I peed in a bottle, mixed it with orange juice and gave it to a colleague to drink. When he found out, in the middle of the night they took me to the train station and sent me a package. In the morning I was in Bucharest. When my mother saw me at home, she asked me what was wrong with me. I told him “All right, they selected me”.

What was I to tell her? My mother immediately felt that I was lying and that, in fact, I was not well. He went to Fabian and asked him to intervene and that’s how they called me back “, Marcel remembers.

Then, in a match with the junior national team, “I don’t know who I was playing against, Greece or Bulgaria, I dribbled everything and when I came face to face with the goal empty, instead of putting the ball in the net, I came back to dribble the goalkeeper once more. They said I was crazy, they were making fun of me and they kicked me out. My luck was again Fabian, who intervened. Otherwise, I don’t know what was chosen of me “.

Integration at Steaua: “They saw that I knew about the ‘coțofana’ and they helped me”

Marcel made his debut for the red-blues in April 1973, in a match lost in Resita, in front of the SCM.

“It’s been almost 50 years since then. Coaches were Gheorghe Constantin and Emeric Ienei, they made my debut. I had just finished my junior year, I was a shameful person, but I was well received by the big team. And I, and Ion Ion, and Vasile Aelenei, the kids who had been promoted then.

There were valuable players in the group, Narcis Coman, Bujor Hălmăgeanu, Lajos Sătmăreanu, Nicolae Pantea or Gigi Tătaru. They saw that I knew about the “cuddle” and that I could be useful to the team and they even helped me to integrate quickly. Of course, I also did the work downstairs, I carried the equipment, the net with balls, stuff like that, but that’s how it was then, it was a tradition ”.

2Marcel has 2 titles and 2 Romanian Cups, all with Steaua

Awarded for the first trophies with Steaua “Sewing machine and they advanced us in the grade”

In 1976, Răducanu made the event with Steaua. “We had a very strong team. If everything went normally and there were no tricks, we had to take the championship every year. A lot of values ​​had gathered in the lot at that time“, Recalls the former Romanian international.

He does not remember that the players were awarded then: “Money? Car? Maybe a sewing machine! It’s like they promoted us. I was a platoon leader and they made me an officer. But what I keep from those times is the pleasure I played with, especially when I had derbies with Dinamo, with the crowded stadium. People came four or five hours before.

Unknown stories from Marcel Răducanu's career: the farce that endangered his career, the astrology teacher who saved him from arrest and how he integrated into Steaua

I could not wait to come face to face with Dinu, the “Prosecutor”, as he was called, to kick the ball between his legs. But off the field we were good friends. And with him, and with other Dinamo players ”.

229of matches and 94 goals, Răducanu ticked at Steaua, between 1972 and 1981

Marcel Răducanu’s flight from the country: “I am free! I escaped!”

“I arrived with the national team in Germany, in Grünberg, near Frankfurt. In the evening I had a friend in Hanover. We came back after the game and I didn’t know what to do because I had to leave. I came across a Pole who was training a group of children, I spoke to him a little in English and I told him what I was going to do. I asked him to take only my bag because I would take care of the rest.

Then another friend came to Kassel, and I woke up with Uncle Costel Popa, who had been the director of the Nord Hotel. I knew him from Romania and I told him what I was going to do. We were going to play in Dortmund and he said to me: “You play the first half, try to do well, let the world see you and at the break I’m waiting for you outside!”.

I got injured on the break! It was July 31st … I limped into the locker room and Uncle Tinel, Valentin Stanescu, took me: “What do you have, boules, what happened?”. I told him that my knee hurt, that I couldn’t play anymore and he told me to stay in the locker room …

I couldn’t believe it! The players came out on the field, I had my boots in a bag and I ran away from the stadium, the Borussia driver was watching me running like crazy. Uncle Popa was waiting for me and I just said: «I’m free! I escaped!””

However, Răducanu claims that he did not stay in Germany only because of the oppressions of the communist regime.

“Although they also showed up at the national team, where, because I was saying things by name, the then coach, Valentin Stănescu, received an order to be kept on the bench at a match with England, played in London. But I just wanted to play outside, to prove and prove to myself that I can evolve at a very high level.

It was to be in Germany, but it could be England, France, Spain. I had not set myself a specific championship, but to get to play in a top one “.

Marcel Răducanu, worked by the coach: “I was going to America”

In the summer of 1985, coach of Borussia Dortmund came Pal Csernai. A Hungarian technician with very good results in the period 1978-1983, when he had won two titles with Bayern and the German Cup.

Marcel remembers that “as soon as he moved to Dortmund, he called me and we had lunch together at an Italian restaurant. We talked a lot, he asked me about the team, about which players we should take.

As I perceived it, I thought it was mine. He is Hungarian, I am Romanian, we both came from Eastern Europe, I was convinced that he would bet on me. When there, maximum surprise. After a friendly with Schalke, in which I stayed, being injured, he told the journalists that “the team plays better without Răducanu”.

Unknown stories from Marcel Răducanu's career: the farce that endangered his career, the astrology teacher who saved him from arrest and how he integrated into Steaua

And he started to use me less and less, he didn’t talk to me anymore, at one point he sent me to the second team. Or he would make me play right-back. Mockery. I got to see the matches in the stands and when the first offer came from Chicago Spring, I told Borussia that I wanted to leave.

The leaders started asking me to stay, I told them I could not work with such a man. The fans, in turn, saw that the team was getting worse and worse and started chanting «Răducanu! Răducanu! Răducanu! ». And after five games with only two points won, they fired Csernai. And that’s how I ended up in Dortmund. “

On the verge of relegation, Marcel Răducanu scored the most important goal of his career

In the spring of 1986, after Csernai’s dismissal, Marcel Răducanu was one step away from reaching the 2. Bundesliga, with Borussia Dortmund.

“I finished 16th in the Bundesliga and finished third in the second league, Fortuna Koln. I lost the round with 2-0, and in the return, at 1-1, I scored the 2-1 goal, with my head, at the crossbar. The most important goal of my career.

Unknown stories from Marcel Răducanu's career: the farce that endangered his career, the astrology teacher who saved him from arrest and how he integrated into Steaua

We won 3-1 in the last minute and that’s how we ended up playing a third match, on neutral ground. Then I smashed Fortuna, 8-0! But it was a crucial moment in his career. I, who had won the title and the Cup in Romania, with Steaua, would have reached the second league. I don’t know if my agreement with Borussia was also valid in “B”, but the simple fact that I could downgrade was a tough experience “.

6years, between 1982 and 1988, Marcel played for Dortmund (163 matches / 31 goals). He ended his career at FC Zurich (1988-1990): 47 games, 12 successes

The benefits of astrology: The police were waiting for Marcel Răducanu at the airport

In October / November 1987, Borussia met Velez Mostar in Round 2 of the UEFA Cup. After 2-0 in Dortmund, with Răducanu starting, the return from Mostar followed.

The “decar” of the yellow-blacks visited Rosemarie before leaving, an astrology teacher who regularly made her horoscope: “She didn’t see me well then and advised me not to travel, because it could be bad.. I told coach Reinhard Saftig I wasn’t going and that’s what I did. In vain did he beg me, “Mark, I need you!” I stayed in Dortmund. When the team returned, I went to the airport in Dusseldorf to meet the boys and congratulate them.

They had beaten 2-1, but had qualified. When they appeared, President Gerd Niebaum came straight to me, crying, took me in his arms and said, “Good thing you didn’t come. The police were waiting for you at the airport ». Do you realise? They would take me back to Romania and I would end up behind bars, most likely. I escaped through the ears of the needle. “

Unknown stories from Marcel Răducanu's career: the farce that endangered his career, the astrology teacher who saved him from arrest and how he integrated into Steaua

The day after …: The nightmare of giving up football

One of the hardest times in Marcel’s life was the one that followed his retirement from football. “It simply came to our notice then. It was July 1991, I was 36 years old, I had just signed a contract with FC Zurich and I had returned to Dortmund.

Unknown stories from Marcel Răducanu's career: the farce that endangered his career, the astrology teacher who saved him from arrest and how he integrated into Steaua

I couldn’t believe that I don’t go to training in the morning anymore, that I don’t wear boots anymore. I dreamed at night that I was still a footballer at Borussia and then I woke up and realized that I hung my boots on someone, as they say. For one who always played for pleasure it was a nightmare. And now it happens to me to dream that I am a player “.

18Răducanu has selections in the Romanian national team, for which he scored 3 times

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