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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

All time great close to joining Newcastle but never considered other English clubs


It's not every day of your life that you get to meet one of your heroes and one of the greatest players ever to grace the game, so today was nearly as special as the day I met Bobby Moore. And like Moore, Hagi proved to be a modest, affable man, full of charm, good manners and consideration.

The conversation was enlightening on a number of levels, not least when I asked if he had ever considered playing in England. Hagi smiled and said, "I had the chance to join Newcastle when Kevin Keegan was manager and the deal nearly happened. But it was not to be." There was no comment about West Ham, Leeds or Spurs!

Asked why Romanian players, apart from his brother in law Popescu, had never cut it in the English game, Hagi replied, "You have to have a real desire to play in England. You have to have a big heart, a hunger, a passion." The implication was that the likes of Dumitrescu, Raducioiu, Rat and Chiriches were / are lacking in that department but he was too polite to be specific.

Pressed on who is the better player, Ronaldo or Messi, the former maestro replied, "Both are great players, both are making history. Ronaldo has great power, athleticism and skill, but for me Messi is the player I prefer. He has more skill, he plays more for the team. I also like the way he conducts himself off the football field." (Of course the Spanish tax man might disagree there!)

When asked who was the greatest player ever, he was reluctant to name anybody replying, "That is a question of opinion. I have a saying, the greatest player is the player who wins the most trophies. That is what counts at the end of a career, not what people say about you. For me, I admired most Pele and Maradona and it was a great honour to be compared to Maradona - the player, not the man off the pitch! I also learnt so much from Cruyff and from the coaches at Ajax where I studied the academy. At Ajax they teach you to think about the game, to play the game in your head, to see the whole pitch and that is what I try to teach at my academy in Constanta."

He explained what made him special as a footballer: "It is all about speed, not speed across the ground but speed of thought. The best players think quicker. They see things quicker. And it is all about fight. You have to play with passion, with heart, with desire. When you lose it has to make you unhappy and that is the time to analyse, to work out why you did not win. But you fight when on the pitch, not off it."

And which is the best league in the world? "At the moment Spain. England is second." And on playing for both Real Madrid and Barcelona? "It was easier because Brescia came in between. Moving from one to the other would not have been so easy." And his views on the England national team? "I like the England team very much because I never lost to them!"

A great day meeting a great man. And Newcastle missed out on one hell of a player as this link will confirm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml0jqKw4SQ4


22 comments:

  1. On the subject of players NOT going to west ham,do you think it's wise to encourage debate on your second site regarding Gareth Barry signing for w,ham? There is more chance of bobby moores ashes regenerating in his urn then pinching a few more bracelets before joining the England squad. Or more chance of you popping along the road to Transelvania and Draculas castle then pulling the stake out of John Lyalls heart in time for him to replace Sam.

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  2. I thought u would have met him living in romania...a good peice from you for a change.i suppose u will be going night clubbing with him next wk.

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  3. What on earth has this got to do with Leeds united? You go awol for months claiming you had nothing to say and you come back with this rubbish , it won't be long before you're site is hacked again princess

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  4. I would love to know where the poor chimpanzee, who writes this blog, is imprisoned. If anyone has an inkling, could they contact the RSPCA. I also know a good vet who would put him out of his misery.

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    1. Ooooo we've got a tough guy!

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  5. You absolute liar you have just photo shopped the picture why not put up a pic of you and him? Just a way of getting #lufc fans to see him scoring against us in a galascum shirt against us, even tho you know what happened to Chris and Kev! Dragging the Dons name through the mud yesterday of all days, when all he did was treat the establishment how they had treat him for years while mocking his achievements at same time. As you say he was hated by everyone but Leeds fans so was in no win situation whatever he did. That is all you can say against him he went to UAE for money, who hasn't took a job for better money were you will treat with respect you deserve?! I no you won't print this but you sir are a complete scum bag! Racial slurs, disrespecting dead and much more, sort your life out you sad twisted old fool. Funny how you got chatty after ukip won elections, were you out campaigning for them or just voting for them?

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    1. You'll be found

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    2. Sad bastud.

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  6. You are a true eccentric but I kind of like your sideways take on LUFC. And a great profile of the forgotten maestro The Maradona of the Carpathians. Nice job.

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    1. Cheers 20.21, glad you enjoy the read. He was genuinely a lovely guy and, of course, a truly wonderful talent on the football field.

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  7. LOL Jealous or what? Why would I be campaigning for UKIP when I live in Romania exactly? That would be a strange thing to do! As for photo-shopping the pic, find the original on the net. Wouldn't it have been easier to find a Romanian who looks like Haji? I mean, how do you know that is the REAL Haji in the picture? And if I'd posted a picture of me alongside Haji, how would you have known it was me? The Games Gone Crazy screen will be pictured regularly over the coming year as it goes on a world tour. And maybe it will meet a few famous people along the way, who knows? As for Chris & Kev, that never occurred to me. Let it go man, you are tearing yourself apart with envy and hatred.

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  8. you utter loner, there's only you in your world you complete wanker. MOT

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  9. It's strange how blogs like this posted by human excrement are allowed to exist unhindered yet blogs like The Coleman Experience which exposes establishment paedophiles gets blocked regularly by spooks and or establishment paedophiles. It is perfectly ok to spout vile racism but not ok to campaign against child molesters and rapists. What a world.

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  10. bet he would be well happy with your piece if you had got his name right. gheorghe hagi

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    1. He is known simply as Hagi out here

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  11. Are there any normal Leeds fans or are they all trolling wankers?

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  12. Bad article. Apart from the irrelevant reference to Leeds United, how can the deduction be only his BIL Popescu cut it as a Romanian in the English game? Ever heard of Dan Petrescu. Your football knowledge is poor.

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    1. It's a fair point but not a point Hagi himself challenged on. Fraternal flattery and all that. Petrescu did, of course, enjoy a much longer career in the English game but who did he play for? Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea! (Joking!) Of course, he also wore the Bradford City shirt and scored against West Ham - shame our Romanians weren't too prolific on the goal scoring front! Did he do a stint at Southampton too? Anyway, he was good and yes he cut it in the English game, but he wasn't Hagi or Popescu in terms of ability was he? Still, Popescu only played in 20 odd games in England before moving on, and Petrescu is the only one who played over 100 games at the highest level in England, so the point still holds: Romanians have not done themselves justice on the playing fields of England.

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  13. Cockney tosser

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