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CFR Cluj

CFR Cluj is a football (soccer) club from Romania.

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About CFR Cluj

CFR Cluj is a Romanian professional association football football team from the city of Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania, Romania. The club had spent most of their existence in the lower divisions, except for a spell in Divizia A in the 1970s, until they received significant financial backing from Árpád Pászkány in 2002. CFR Cluj returned to the top flight in 2004 and the following season took in their first UEFA competition, the UEFA Intertoto Cup, finishing as runners-up. In Liga I 2007–08, CFR Cluj were champions of Liga I for the first time in their history, taking the title away from teams from the city of Bucharest for the first time in 17 years, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stages in the process, six years after having been in the Liga III of Romanian league football. CFR Cluj started the UEFA Champions League 2008–09 with an unexpected win against A.S. Roma, followed by a draw against the previous season's Champions League finalists, Chelsea F.C.. The team has set a record since their major managerial change in 2002, they managed to win seven trophies: the Liga I championship (two times), the Romanian Cup (three times), and the Romanian Supercup (two times).

History

Early years

The club was founded in 1907, when the city of Cluj-Napoca was part of Austria-Hungary. Initially, their name was Kolozsvári Vasutas Sport Club (Cluj-Napoca Railway Sports Club), but in 1918 the club was renamed after the Romanian state railway carrier, Căile Ferate Române, for which an acronym CFR is. From 1907 to 1910, the team played in the Municipal Championship of Kolozsvár (today Cluj-Napoca). However, the club did not have any notable achievements during this time.

In 1911, the team won the newly organized Championship of Transylvania. The club consistently finished in second place in that competition between 1911 and 1914, a competition that was interrupted because of World War I. After the war, Transylvania became part of Romania and the club accordingly changed its name to CFR Cluj, maintaining its links with the national rail organisation. They went on to win two regional titles, in 1918–19 and 1919–20.

Between 1920 and 1934 the club did not have any notable achievements.

Between 1934 and 1936, CFR played for two seasons in the Divizia B, ranking 6th in the 1934–35 season and 8th in the 1935–36 season. In 1936, CFR was relegated to the Divizia C, where the team played for two seasons, finishing 2nd and 4th, respectively.

After World War II, CFR played for one season in the Divizia C, earning the promotion to the Divizia B. Before the start of the 1947–48 season, the team merged with another local club, Ferar Cluj, and played in the Divizia A for the very first time in history. Unfortunately, the team lasted only two years in the first league and would not play here again for another 20 years.

In 1960, another merger, this time with Rapid Cluj, resulted in CSM Cluj. In 1964, the team's name was changed to Clujeana. In that same year, the club's junior team won the national championship. Three years later, the team's name was reversed yet again to CFR Cluj.

1969–1976

In 1969, CFR finished first in Divizia B with 40 points, five more than their rival, FC Politehnica Timişoara. The conclusive game of that season was a 1–1 draw with Politehnica. Politehnica had a 1–0 lead at half-time, but CFR came back with a fine header from Soos.

During the summer of 1969, CFR Cluj advanced to Divizia A under the leadership of coach Dr. Constantin Rădulescu, or "Jumate", as his friends called him in his youth. Rădulescu was originally from southern Romania, but he grew to manhood in the stern atmosphere of Transylvania. Before coaching, he had played for CFR and another well-known local team, CFM Universitatea Cluj, during the 1940s.

In the 1969–70 first league championship, CFR made its debut with a 2–0 victory over ASA Târgu Mureş. The next few games did not go as well. Apart from a 1–0 win over FC Politehnica Iaşi, there were losses to FC Steaua Bucureşti (1–3) and FC Dinamo Bucureşti (0–2). Unfortunately, these and other defeats were a factor in the team's downhill slide. However, the following spring CFR bounced back with a win over ASA Târgu Mureş (1–0), after a lovely goal from Octavian Ionescu, and managed to avert relegation.

At the beginning of CFR's second season in Divizia A, Rădulescu was replaced by Eugen Iordache as head coach. During his tenure, CFR did not do well, so that Rădulescu was swiftly brought back. Even so, CFR Cluj found itself again at the bottom of the table before the winter break. The spring of 1971 was somewhat better, although CFR struggled again to avoid relegation. CFR's last game of that season, against FCM UTA Arad, was a memorable one. CFR led 1–0 at half-time. UTA Arad, however, managed to overturn the match after having scored twice. Nonetheless, the persistence of the players from Cluj was rewarded with a late goal, tying the game at 2–2. UTA went on to play in the European Cups, but, most importantly, CFR avoided relegation.

The 1971–72 season started off badly for CFR. Losses to Dinamo Bucureşti (1–3); FC Bihor Oradea (0–1, after a last-minute penalty kick), and CS Jiul Petroşani (1–2 after two regrettable own-goals) meant CFR's demise after the first round of the championship— the team finished at the bottom, with seven points. CFR’s return was spectacular, although inconsistent at times. The team won some important games, such as a 1–0 with FC Universitatea Craiova and a 3–0 with FC Petrolul Ploieşti. By the end of the season, however, CFR was again struggling to stay in Divizia A. CFR was tied at half-time after having led with 2–0 in their game against FC Politehnica Iaşi. In the second half, two late goals from Ionescu and Petrescu saved the team from relegation. When Rădulescu and his players got back home to Cluj, 3,000 fans turned out to celebrate their feat.

During the summer of 1972, CFR made a transfer of utmost importance. Mihai Adam, from CFM Universitatea Cluj, was traded for Soos. Adam had been twice Romania's top goalscorer, and was considered one of the best Romanian players of his generation. He and the rest of the team would make the 1972–73 season the most glorious in CFR's history. The team achieved its highest ranking ever in Romanian football: fifth in Divizia A. Several important results concluded a great season, including a 2–0 victory against FC Rapid Bucureşti, a 2–2 draw against FC Sportul Studenţesc Bucureşti, and another draw, 1–1, with Steaua Bucureşti. Additionally, the stadium that CFR continues to use even today was built in 1973. To celebrate completion of the stadium, CFR Cluj played a friendly against Cuba national football team. The game ended in a 2–1 victory for CFR.

The 1973–74 season was a rather bad one for CFR, as it barely saved itself from relegation, ranking 14th at the end of the season. The only notable achievement of that season was Mihai Adam's third title as Romania's top goal-scorer who, even though he was 33 years old, scored 23 goals.

The 1974–75 season was much like the one before: CFR struggled to avoid relegation, achieving its objective all the while.

The 1975–76 season marked CFR's relegation and its last season in Divizia A during the 20th century. The problem was that the team was very old, with most of its players in their 30s.

1976–2002

During the 1977–78 season, CFR tried to make a comeback and play in the first league again. Unfortunately, the team managed to finish only second in Divizia B, after FC Baia Mare. Four years later, CFR slid further down, into the third division (Divizia C). From then on, the team would alternate between the second and third leagues. In 1983, CFR played in Divizia B under its ever-loyal coach, Dr. Constantin Rădulescu ("Jumate").

In the 1990s, CFR struggled financially and found itself more than once on the brink of bankruptcy. Nevertheless, several very talented players were raised, including Cristian Dulca, Attila Piroşka, Cristian Coroian, and Alin Minteuan.

2002–2005

In January 2002, a new sponsor, Árpád Pászkány, head of S.C. ECOMAX M.G., founded the new commercial sport society, with ECOMAX M.G. as primary shareholder. By the end of the 2001–02 season, CFR had been promoted back to Divizia B.

The summer of 2003 was very important for CFR as many new talented players were transferred, among them being Cătălin Bozdog, Adrian Anca, Cristian Turcu, and Sabin Piglisan. With these players and others, CFR managed to enter the first league after a spectacular season in Divizia B. CFR began the season superbly, holding first place for a while. Then the club's main sponsor, Árpád Pászkány, became involved in a public scandal, in which Pászkány accused several referees of corruption. This conundrum plagued the team and ended up in head coach GH. Cioceri's dismissal. CFR lost several consecutive games before the scandal blew away. After the winter break, GH. Cioceri was replaced by Aurel Sunda. In the spring of 2004, Sunda's team had a nearly perfect run, winning 14 out of 15 games, with only one draw. One round before the season's end, CFR was one point behind CS Jiul Petroşani, who were in first place. All this changed when Jiul were held to a draw by CS Gaz Metan Mediaş. This, along with CFR's 3–0 victory, was one of the most crucial moments for the club in the 21st century. Thus CFR Cluj advanced to the top league for the first time in 28 years.

In the summer of 2004, CFR acquired many new players, including Vasile Jula and Radu Marginean.

CFR Cluj's first year back in Divizia A was spectacular, yet inconsistent. CFR finished sixth after the first half of the 2004–05 championship — a great accomplishment for a newly promoted team. It was during this time that CFR played one of its most amazing games ever, defeating, at home, FC Dinamo Bucureşti. The final score was 4–2, after four spectacular goals by Adrian Anca and Sorin Oncică, two goals each.

However, the second half of the championship proved disappointing for CFR, as it gathered only 12 points after 15 games. The team finished 11th, though, avoiding relegation.

2005–2007

The summer of 2005 brought some extraordinary changes to CFR Cluj. The club's executives signed up the team for the UEFA Intertoto Cup, being CFR's first European adventure. CFR began well, qualifying for the second round after two victories against FK Vetra (3–2 and 4–1).

Also, the Romanian international Dorinel Munteanu came to CFR from FC Steaua Bucureşti. Munteanu would have the double role of player-coach. His first game produced one of CFR's greatest successes. CFR Cluj defeated Athletic Bilbao of Spain 1–0 (although almost all players from Bilbao's side were from the reserve squad) during the second round of the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup. The only goal of the match was scored by Cosmin Tilincă with a brilliant header. CFR then lost in the city Bilbao (1–0) but still qualified to the next round after a tense penalty shootout.

Munteanu's team played the next game at Cluj, against French side AS Saint-Étienne. Adrian Anca played one of the greatest games in his career, even though the match ended in a 1–1 draw. Anca hit the crossbar with a header early in the game, and Tilincă pushed the ball into the net from the rebound. Anca then went on to earn a penalty, but did not score. He then hit the crossbar a second time, in the second half. The away game, in France, was also an eventful game for CFR Cluj. The game ended in a 2–2 draw, so CFR went on to the next qualifying stage due to its away goals. The game began well for CFR, as Cristian Coroian scored from a penalty kick, earned by Adrian Anca. The second half went by less smoothly for CFR. Julien Sable managed to score for Saint-Étienne, tying the game at 1–1. Then followed CFR player László Balint's elimination. However, a Cosmin Tilincă goal gave the team new hope, a hope fulfilled at the end of a memorable match, tied up by the French in the very last minute. In the next round, CFR easily disposed of Zalgiris Vilnius, 2–1 in Lithuania and 5–1 at home.

For the final match of the 2005 UEFA Interoto Cup, CFR Cluj's opponent was another French side, RC Lens. The first game, at Cluj, ended in a 1–1 draw, with both sides having scored from free kicks. Cristian Turcu scored for CFR. The second game was played at Lens, Pas-de-Calais, in front of 30,000 French fans. Unfortunately, the Romanian players showed signs of exhaustion and conceded three goals. Player-coach Dorinel Munteanu managed to regain some honour for his team with a beautiful goal from a free kick in the 89th minute. Thus ended CFR' Cluj's Intertoto journey. CFR then finished 5th at the end of the Divizia A 2005–06.

During the Liga I 2006–07, major changes at the club started to occur. Dorinel Munteanu resigned as player-coach, and was replaced by Cristiano Bergodi. Foreign players from Western Europe and South America were transferred. A partnership with Portuguese giants S.L. Benfica was signed. On 22 July 2007, CFR Cluj celebrated its centenary year by playing a friendly game against Benfica and inaugurating its new illumination system at its stadium.

2007–present

The team's new coach, Romanian Ioan Andone, formerly of AC Omonia and FC Dinamo Bucureşti started the Liga I 2007–08 well, with CFR Cluj leading the league by eight points halfway through the season and remaining unbeaten. Their form was not as good in the second half of the season, and they were overtaken by FC Steaua Bucureşti with two games remaining. Even though Steaua clashed Gloria Buzau 5–0 in the last matchday, it wasn't enough to bring the title in Ghencea, since CFR Cluj won against CFM Universitatea Cluj so the CFR won the title, the first team outside the city of Bucharest to win the title in nearly two decades. Three days later, CFR Cluj completed a league and cup Double (association football), beating Unirea Urziceni in the Romanian Cup final.

By winning the league, CFR Cluj qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League 2008–09. They were drawn in Group A against Chelsea F.C. of England, A.S. Roma of Italy, and FC Girondins de Bordeaux of France and given little chance of progressing, with odds of 300–1 being given on them winning the competition. In their opening game, Cluj caused a shock by beating Roma in the Rome, 2–1, and further exceeded expectations by holding the previous season's finalists Chelsea to a 0–0 draw.

The end of the Liga I 2008–09 season saw CFR finish fourth, the team had two coaching staff changes in the second part of the competition and did not manage to secure a second title. The Romanian Cup was kept for a consecutive year at Cluj, and achievement through which CFR ended the year in high spirits.

In the Liga I 2009–10 season, the team managed to win the league title for the second time in its history, confirming the heavy investments in the clubs infrastructure, management and squad transfers. Managed by coach Andrea Mandorlini, CFR Cluj also kept the Romanian Cup and qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Stadium

CFR Cluj's play their home games at Dr. Constantin Radulescu stadium, which has an all-seated capacity of 23,500.

With an investment of Euro10 million, from autumn 2006 till June 2007, the club changed the field to higher quality turf, built a state of art Floodlights (sport), and updated its infrastructure. All the work has been completed for the 100th birthday of the club, when the first official friendly game was played against S.L. Benfica of Portugal.

In 2008, the club expanded the stadium to a capacity of 23,500.

The CFR stadium meets all of UEFA's regulations and can host UEFA Champions League matches.


Image:Stade Constantin Radulescu.jpg:
- - Winners (2): 2007–08 Liga I, 2009–10 Liga I

- Liga II:
- - Winners (2): 1968–69 Divizia B, 2003–04 Divizia B Seria III

- Liga III:
- - Winners (7): 1946–47 Divizia C, C 1982–83 Divizia, 1985–86 Divizia C, 1988–89 Divizia C, 1990–91 Divizia C, 1995–96 Divizia C, 2001–02 Divizia C

- Romanian Cup:
- - Winners (3): 2008 Cupa României Final, 2009 Cupa României Final, 2010 Cupa României Final

- Romanian Supercup:
- - Winners (2): 2009 Supercupa României, 2010 Supercupa României

European

- UEFA Intertoto Cup:
- - Runners-up (1): UEFA Intertoto Cup 2005

European record



Domestic record

Liga I


Records

- Best finish Liga I: Champions in Liga I 2007–08, Liga I 2009–10
- Greatest victory: CFR Cluj – Minaur Zlatna 10–0 (4 October 2003)
- Biggest defeat: CFR Bucureşti – CFR Cluj 12–2 (20 April 1949)
- Player with most caps in Liga I: Cristian Panin (200)
- Player with most goals in Liga I: Mihai Adam (47)





Out on loan



Players with dual nationality

- 5 Bakary Saré
- 18 Sixto Peralta
- 26 Pedro Celestino Silva Soares
- 99 Modou Sougou
- 20 Cadú (footballer)

Notable former players


Romania
- Mihai Adam
- Adrian Anca
- Cristian Coroian
- Ciprian Deac
- Nicolae Dică
- Cristian Dulca
- Vasile Jula
- István Kovács (footballer born 1920)
- Bogdan Mara
- Radu Mărginean
- Alin Minteuan
- Dorinel Munteanu
- Romeo Surdu
- Cosmin Tilincă
- Eugen Trică
- Martin Tudor (footballer)
- Petru Ţurcaş

Argentina
- Tomás Costa
- Emmanuel Culio
- Sebastián Dubarbier
- Cristian Fabbiani
- Diego Ruiz (footballer)
Brazil
- André Galiassi
- Cleidimar Magalhães Silva
- Hugo Alcântara
- Weldon Santos de Andrade
Burkina Faso
- Yssouf Koné
Canada
- Lars Hirschfeld
Côte d'Ivoire
- Lacina Traoré

Croatia
- Saša Bjelanović
France
- Anthony da Silva
Greece
- Ioannis Matzourakis
Portugal
- Antonio Semedo
- Daniel Ricardo da Silva Soares
- Manuel José Vieira
- Pedro Oliveira (footballer)
Sweden
- Mikael Dorsin
- Niklas Sandberg

Serbia
- Sead Brunčević
- Svetozar Mijin
- Zoran Milošević
Uruguay
- Álvaro Pereira

Former coaches


- Constantin Rădulescu
- Marius Bretan (2001–02)
- George Ciorceri (2002–03)
- Adrian Coca (2004)
- Aurel Şunda (2004–05)
- Dorinel Munteanu (2005–06)
- Cristiano Bergodi (2006–07)
- Ioan Andone (2007–08)

- Maurizio Trombetta (2008)
- Aleš Jindra / Dušan Uhrin, Jr (2009)
- António Conceição da Silva Oliveira (2009)
- Andrea Mandorlini (2010)
- Sorin Cârţu (2010)
- Alin Minteuan (2011)
- Jorge Costa (2011–)

Club information

Club executives

- Financer: Árpád Pászkány
- President: Iuliu Mureșan
- Vice-presidents: Constantin Dascălu and Emil Ciorea
- Secretary: Ioan Martin
- Administrative director: Ioan Pop
- Press officer: Tudor Pop

Coaching staff

- Manager: Jorge Costa
- Assistant manager: Jaime Magalhães
- Assistant manager: Francisc Dican
- Goalkeeping coach: Daniel Tudor
- Fitness coach: Paolo Potocnik
- Fitness coach: Marco Leite
- Physiotherapist: Gábor Barta
- Masseur: Viorel Boncoi
- Masseur: Bogdan Rus
- Masseur: Iosif Mureşan
- Medic: Ovidiu Dragoş

Supporters

The biggest supporter groups of CFR 1907 Cluj are Commando Gruia and KVSC. Commando Gruia currently has about 300 members, whereas KVSC has 800.

As a premier, the 2009–2010 CFR Fans' Trophy was awarded to Cristian Panin as voted by supporters and football reviewers. The trophy is to be awarded every year by the CFR Cluj fans associations to the player that receives the highest aggregate amount of votes online and highest per match rating respectively.




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