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Cosmin Aurelian Olăroiu (born 10 June 1969) is a Romanian professional football manager and former footballer and is currently the head coach of Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning. He is considered one of the greatest managers in the Arabian Peninsula, having led the most decorated clubs of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates – Al Hilal, Al Sadd, Al Ain and Al Ahli – to new trophies.

Cosmin Olăroiu
Cosmin Olăroiu.jpg
Olăroiu during his tenure as manager of Steaua București (2007)
Personal information
Full name Cosmin Aurelian Olăroiu
Date of birth (1969-06-10) 10 June 1969 (age 49)
Place of birth Bucharest, Romania
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Jiangsu Suning (head coach)
Youth career
0000–1988 Steaua Bucureşti
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1989 Carpați Nehoiu
1989–1990 Gloria Buzău
1990–1991 MECON București
1991–1992 Girueta București
1992–1995 Naţional Bucureşti 80 (8)
1995–1997 Universitatea Craiova 37 (2)
1997–2000 Suwon Samsung Bluewings 98 (7)
2000JEF United Ichihara (loan) 10 (0)
Total 225 (17)
Teams managed
2000–2002 Naţional Bucureşti
2002 Steaua Bucureşti
2002–2005 Naţional Bucureşti
2005 Politehnica Timişoara
2006–2007 Steaua Bucureşti
2007–2009 Al-Hilal
2009–2010 Al-Sadd
2011–2013 Al Ain
2013–2017 Shabab Al-Ahli
2014–2015 Saudi Arabia
2018– Jiangsu Suning
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Olăroiu had some impressive results in his early coaching career before arriving in the region, in his country Romania. In the 2001–02 season, Naţional Bucharest under his managership became a challenger for the championship title. However, they lost the leader position in the last game of the season, against Universitatea Craiova, and the title went to Dinamo Bucharest. He won the Romanian League and the Supercupa României with Steaua Bucureşti, both in 2006, and led his side into the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in the same year.[1]

He was named Romanian Coach of the Year in 2006.

Contents

Club careerEdit

As a player, Olăroiu's best-known clubs he played for are Universitatea Craiova and Naţional Bucureşti. However, he also played with success in K-League for Suwon Samsung Bluewings where he helped the club to win two K-League titles in 1998 and 1999. He also won the Korean League Cup and twice the Super Cup.[1] He finished his playing career with JEF United Ichihara in 2000.

Coaching careerEdit

Early yearsEdit

He started his coaching career during the 2000–01 season at Naţional Bucureşti, leading them to a respectable 7th place in his first season.[1] During the following season, he guided the club to a second-place finish in the league, finishing above clubs such as Steaua and Rapid Bucureşti.[2]

In the summer 2002, Olăroiu signed for Steaua Bucureşti.[3] He resigned after only seven league games, blaming the decision on a lack of support from the board and players. The club president Viorel Păunescu re-appointed Victor Piţurcă, former manager before 2002 who wanted to return to head-coaching and was still highly regarded by the players.[4]

After leaving Steaua București, Olăroiu returned to Național București, this time as a general manager. In 2003, he was named head coach again, replacing Walter Zenga.[5]

In the winter of 2004, Olăroiu joined Politehnica Timişoara and brought with him the best players from Național București. He led them to a near historical fourth-place finish in Divizia A, but in November 2005 he was sacked by the club's owner Marian Iancu.[1]

Steaua BucharestEdit

Just some days after, Olăroiu was appointed manager by Gigi Becali, the new president, and this time owner, of Steaua Bucureşti, to replace Oleh Protasov.[6] His first championship title as coach came in June 2006 and then one month later, he led the club to the conquest of the Supercupa României. In May 2006, Olăroiu's side reached the semi-finals of the 2005–06 UEFA Cup.[7] He also helped Steaua to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stages,[8] where they played against Dinamo Kiev, Real Madrid and Olympique Lyon.[1] Steaua secured a third place and a spot in the UEFA Cup knockout rounds.[1]

Al-HilalEdit

 
Olăroiu in Persian Gulf

In June 2007, Olăroiu signed for Al-Hilal, supposedly drawn by the more attractive financial aspects that are typical of Saudi Arabian football.[9] In 2008, he again proved his coaching worth, winning the Saudi Premier League and the Crown Prince Cup in his first season in charge. He led his side to a second Crown Prince Cup title before leaving the club in February 2009, while leading them to the first position in the league.[10]

Al-SaddEdit

In April 2009, he signed a two-year contract with Al-Sadd.[11] In December 2010, Olăroiu announced his resignation as club boss immediately after leading his side to the Qatari Stars Cup.[12]

On 5 May 2011, Olăroiu was named supervisor for Steaua Bucureşti for the last three matches of Liga I in the 2010–11 season and the 2011 Cupa României Final. Steaua's assistant coach, Gabriel Caramarin took charge of the team as caretaker manager, for the last remaining games.[1]

Al AinEdit

In the summer of 2011, Cosmin Olăroiu was hired as Al Ain manager on a two-year contract. He steered the club away from the relegation zone, before leading them to the United Arab Emirates Pro-League title in the 2011–12 season.[13] On 18 September 2012, he also won the UAE Super Cup with Al Ain.[14]

He then repeated the performance the following season, winning a consecutive title for Al Ain.[15] In June 2013, Olăroiu signed a contract extension with Al Ain reportedly worth €4 million a season after penning new two-year deal.[16] However, the contract was terminated on 1 July 2013.

Al AhliEdit

On 6 July 2013, it was announced that Olăroiu signed a three-year contract with Dubai side Al Ahli.[17] On 30 August, Olăroiu won his first match in charge of Al Ahli against his former club Al Ain in the Super Cup final.[18] In April 2014, Cosmin Olăroiu mathematically won his third consecutive league title as Al Ahli won over arch rivals Al Wasl 2–1.[19] During his first season in charge, Olăroiu won three domestic titles and was awarded as Coach of the Year by the Arabian Gulf League in 2014.[20]

He guided the club to their first AFC Champions League final in 2015, losing 1–0 on aggregate to China's Guangzhou Evergrande.

In the 2016–17 season, Olăroiu became one of the highest paid managers in world football,[21] earning a sum of €6.5 million annually.[22]

Saudi ArabiaEdit

On 15 December 2014, it was announced that he will train the Saudi Arabia national football team for 2015 AFC Asian Cup.[23] His first match in charge was a 4–1 loss to Bahrain in a friendly match. Olăroiu's side also lost two next matches, including a 1–0 loss to China in 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia's first match at the tournament. They won their next match 4–1 against North Korea but lost 3–1 their final match against Uzbekistan and were eliminated in the group stages. The results is a consequence of his not knowing his players well. At the end of the tournament, Olăroiu returned to his club position.

Jiangsu SuningEdit

On 28 March 2018, Olăroiu was appointed at Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League, replacing Fabio Capello.[24] He took charge of his first match on 1 April in a home game against Tianjin Teda, which Jiangsu won 2–1.[25]

HonoursEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Portretul lui Olăroiu, antrenorul adus de Becali să salveze Steaua: cifre, culise, imagini". Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 5 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Romania round-up: Dinamo snatch title on final day". UEFA. 1 June 2002.
  3. ^ "Olaroiu makes capital move". UEFA. 25 June 2002.
  4. ^ "Unhappy Olaroiu quits Steaua". UEFA. 18 October 2002.
  5. ^ "All change at National". UEFA. 10 September 2003.
  6. ^ "Romania gears up for restart". UEFA. 8 March 2006.
  7. ^ "Steaua's tower of strength". UEFA. 11 April 2006.
  8. ^ "Steaua fulfil Becali's dream". UEFA. 24 August 2006.
  9. ^ "Hagi takes charge at Steaua". UEFA. 25 June 2007.
  10. ^ "Al Ain appoint Romanian Cosmin Olaroiu as coach". The National. 7 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Qatar: Al Sadd appoint Cosmin Olaroiu as Coach". Goal.com. 17 April 2009.
  12. ^ "Trio of coaches leave Middle East". FIFA. 23 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Al Ain coach Cosmin Olaroiu hails 'perfect' players after clinching UAE Pro-League title". Goal.com. 28 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Super Cup: Goalkeeper is hero for Al Ain after penalty drama". The National. 18 September 2012.
  15. ^ "Asamoah Gyan hat-trick wins Al Ain an 11th Etisalat Pro League title". Gulf News. 18 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Cosmin Olaroiu extends Al Ain contract". gulfnews.com. 9 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Cosmin Olaroiu confirmed as Al Ahli coach on three-year deal". alahliclub.ae (official website). 6 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Majed Nasser the penalty shootout hero for Al Ahli". gulfnews.com. 30 August 2013.
  19. ^ "Al Ahli clinch Arabian Gulf League title with win over Al Wasl". The National. 10 April 2014.
  20. ^ "Al Hammadi, Grafite and Olaroiu rewarded for Al Ahli's fine season". Sport 360. 18 May 2014.
  21. ^ "Al Ahli's coach is paid higher than every single coach of Euro 2016 teams". Goal.com. 15 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Olăroiu, salariu uriaş la arabi! Câştigă mai bine decât Simeone" (in Romanian). Fanatik. 26 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Saudi Arabia opt for Olaroiu ahead of AFC Asian Cup". The AFC. 16 December 2014.
  24. ^ "卡佩罗离任,奥拉罗尤接任". fc.suning.com (in Chinese). Jiangsu Suning. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Jiangsu Suning FC 2–1 Tianjin Teda". Sky Sports. 1 April 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.

External linksEdit