Gheorghe "Gică" Hagi (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈɡe̯orɡe ˈhad͡ʒi] (listen); born 5 February 1965) is a Romanian former professional footballer, considered one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe during the 1980s and '90s and the greatest Romanian footballer of all time. Galatasaray fans called him "Comandante" ("The Commander") and Romanians call him "Regele" ("The King"). He is currently the owner and manager of Viitorul Constanța. Nicknamed "The Maradona of the Carpathians", Hagi is considered a hero in his homeland. He was named Romanian Footballer of the Year seven times, and is regarded as one of the best football players of his generation. As a creative advanced playmaker, he was renowned for his dribbling, technique, vision, passing and finishing. Hagi played for the Romanian national team in three FIFA World Cups, in 1990, 1994 (where he was named in the World Cup All-Star Team) and 1998; as well as in three UEFA European Championships, in 1984, 1996 and 2000. He won a total of 125 caps for Romania, ranked second after Dorinel Munteanu, and is the joint leading goalscorer (alongside Adrian Mutu) with 35 goals. In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, Hagi was selected as the Golden Player of Romania by the Romanian Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years. In 2004, he was named by Pelé as one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony. He was listed at number 25 in World Soccer Magazine's list of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century. Hagi is one of the few footballers to have played for both Spanish rival clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona FC. In 2009, Hagi founded Romanian club Viitorul Constanța. He is currently both owner and manager of the club. Hagi also established the Gheorghe Hagi Football Academy, one of the largest and most successful football academies in Southeastern Europe.
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