Cristian Ionuț Săpunaru (born 5 April 1984) is a Romanian professional footballer who plays mainly as a centre-back for Liga I club Rapid București. He can also be deployed as a right-back or a defensive midfielder.
|Full name||Cristian Ionuț Săpunaru|
|Date of birth||5 April 1984|
|Place of birth||Bucharest, Romania|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Position(s)||Defender, defensive midfielder|
|2003–2004||→ Callatis Mangalia (loan)||10||(0)|
|2010||→ Rapid București (loan)||10||(3)|
|2015–2016||Pandurii Târgu Jiu||22||(5)|
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 9 May 2022|
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 10 June 2019
Săpunaru began his senior career with Național București in 2002, before going on to make a name for himself at Rapid București four years later. In 2008 he signed with Porto in Portugal, where he won ten major honours over the course of four years, including the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League. After two additional seasons in Spain featuring for Zaragoza and Elche, Săpunaru spent his late years with stints between his native country and Turkey.
Early career / PortoEdit
Săpunaru was born in Bucharest and is a product of Național București, joining its youth system at the age of only six. He signed for Rapid București in July 2006, and two years later was sold for €2.5 million to Porto as a replacement for Chelsea-bound José Bosingwa. Săpunaru agreed to a five-year contract, with the Primeira Liga club owning 50% of the player's economic rights, while Romanian sources indicated the price was actually €6 million plus two players.
During his debut campaign, Săpunaru was the first-choice right-back as the northerners achieved a double, and scored his first goal in a 1–2 away loss against Nacional for the Taça da Liga. In early February 2010, he was suspended in Portugal–as his teammate Hulk–following incidents during a 0–1 league defeat at Benfica, so he returned to his country for a five-month loan with former side Rapid; he did not manage to be played regularly at Porto during that time but, following his return for the 2010–11 season, became a very important first-team unit as they won three major titles, appearing in 40 official games in the process.
In his first season in Aragon, Săpunaru started but also suffered team relegation. He also entered his name in the competition's history books, after breaking the record for the most bookings in a single campaign (19 yellow cards and one red).
After initially hesitating because of the requests of his partner, Săpunaru signed a one-year deal at fellow league team Elche on 25 July 2013. He totalled only nine appearances in his only campaign and was also sent off twice, while his sole goal opened a 1–2 loss at Valencian Community neighbours Levante on 13 December.
After four months back at Rapid, Săpunaru signed a season-long deal at Pandurii Târgu Jiu on 6 September 2015, including a clause that he could leave instantly if a foreign club wanted him. The following 21 July, he put pen to paper to a two-year contract with fellow league side Astra Giurgiu.
On 1 July 2017, it was announced that Săpunaru signed a two-year deal with Turkish Süper Lig team Kayserispor. At its expiration, he joined Denizlispor in the same competition, before returning to his previous employer in January 2020 for the rest of the season. In August, he signed a new one-year deal.
Săpunaru signed for Rapid for the fourth time on 4 July 2021, joining on a two-year contract at the age of 37.
Săpunaru made his debut for the Romania national team on 31 May 2008 against Montenegro, and was selected to the nation's squad at UEFA Euro 2008, although he did not play in the final stages. From June 2011 to November 2015, he did not appear in any games for his country due to a conflict with manager Victor Pițurcă.
On 17 May 2016, Săpunaru was picked by manager Anghel Iordănescu for his Euro 2016 squad. He started at right-back in the group stage opener, a 1–2 loss against the hosts France. In September 2019, after amassing 36 caps over the course of eleven years, 35-year-old Săpunaru announced his retirement from the national team.
|Pandurii Târgu Jiu|
- As of match played 10 June 2019
- Primeira Liga: 2008–09, 2010–11, 2011–12
- Taça de Portugal: 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11
- Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: 2010, 2011
- UEFA Europa League: 2010–11
- UEFA Super Cup runner-up: 2011
- Cupa României runner-up: 2016–17
- "European Championship 2020: Booking List before Qualifying Round Matchday 10" (PDF). UEFA. 17 November 2019. p. 6. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- Rapid's Săpunaru plumps for Porto; UEFA, 14 July 2008
- Ce transfer!!! Sapunaru la FC Porto pentru 6 milioane + 2 jucatori (We have a transfer!!! Sapunaru to FC Porto for 6 million + 2 players) Archived 7 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine; Sport Magazin, 9 July 2008 (in Romanian)
- "Do nevoeiro surgiu um golo de Fidalgo e a vitória do Nacional" [Out from the mist came Fidalgo goal and Nacional win] (in Portuguese). Público. 15 January 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
- Sapunaru to return on loan to Rapid Bucharest Archived 26 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine; The Romanian Times, 1 February 2010
- "Futebolistas do FC Porto condenados no caso do túnel da Luz" [FC Porto footballers condemned in tunnel of Luz case] (in Portuguese). Expresso. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "FC Porto: jogadores condenados no caso do "túnel da Luz"" [FC Porto: players condemned in the "tunnel of Luz" case] (in Portuguese). Relvado. 17 February 2014. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Túnel da Luz. Futebolistas condenados a indemnizar "stewards"" [Tunnel of Luz. Footballers condemned to compensate stewards] (in Portuguese). i. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
- "Cristian Sapunaru se une a la plantilla del Real Zaragoza" [Cristian Sapunaru joins Real Zaragoza roster] (in Spanish). Real Zaragoza. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
- "La Real se aprovecha de un inocente Zaragoza" [Real take advantage of innocent Zaragoza] (in Spanish). Marca. 16 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "Sapu cel galben » Săpunaru a rămas în istoria Primera Division: a depăşit recordul de cartonaşe galbene" [Sapu the yellow » Săpunaru makes history in Primera Division: yellow cards record broken] (in Romanian). Gazeta Sporturilor. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- "La dama no es de Elche" [The lady is not from Elche] (in Spanish). Marca. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "El defensa rumano Sapunaru ficha por el Elche" [Romanian defender Săpunaru signs for Elche] (in Spanish). La Liga. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Late joy for Levante". Sky Sports. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Elche looking to offload Cristian Sapunaru due to high wage demands". Inside Spanish Football. 30 June 2014. Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Elche announce Sapunaru departure". Inside Spanish Football. 21 August 2014. Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Sapunaru suspende el juicio y negociará su despido con el Elche" [Săpunaru suspends judgement and will negotiate his dismissal with Elche] (in Spanish). Diario Información. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Cristi Săpunaru a semnat cu Pandurii! Clauză specială în contractul valabil un sezon" [Cristi Săpunaru signed for Pandurii! Special clause in season-long contract] (in Romanian). Digi Sport. 6 September 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
- "Săpunaru – astrist cu acte!" [Săpunaru – astrist in action!] (in Romanian). FC Astra Giurgiu. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- "Kayserispor, Sapunaru ile anlaştı" [Kayserispor, agreement with Sapunaru] (in Turkish). Fanatik. 1 July 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Denizlispor Sapunaru ile anlaştı" [Denizlispor sign Săpunaru] (in Turkish). Fotomac. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- "Kayserispor, Cristian Sapunaru ile yeniden anlaştı" [Kayserispor, Cristian Săpunaru re-signs] (in Turkish). Haber Takvimi. 12 August 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- "Rapid a anunțat transferul așteptat de toți fanii echipei! Prima reacție: „Sunt fericit că pot juca la clubul pe care îl iubesc"" [Rapid have announced the transfer awaited by all of the team's fans! First reaction: "I'm happy to be able to play for the club that I love"]. Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 4 July 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
- "Veste bună pentru Iordănescu. Un jucător tras pe linie moartă de Pițurcă e gata să revină la națională" [Good news for Iordănescu. A player that was kicked by Pițurcă is ready to return to the national team] (in Romanian). Stiridesport. 7 March 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "VIDEO EXCLUSIV A fost ignorat de Pițurcă, acum rupe tăcerea: "Dacă ne întâlnim, îl ocolesc, sau mă ocolește el"" [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO He was ignored by Pițurcă, now he breaks the silence: "If we meet, I avoid him, or he avoids me"] (in Romanian). Digi Sport. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "Romania Euro 2016 squad". The Daily Telegraph. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "Dimitri Payet nets superb late winner for France vs. Romania". ESPN FC. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "Cristian Săpunaru s-a retras de la echipa naţională a României!" [Cristian Săpunaru retired from the Romanian national team!] (in Romanian). Digi Sport. 2 September 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- Cristian Săpunaru at Soccerway. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
- "Cristian Sapunaru". Footballdatabase. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Cristian Săpunaru". EU-football.info. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
- "CEI MAI BUNI Rapid ia TOT! » Săpunaru a fost ales "Jucătorul lunii august", iar Mihai Iosif - "Antrenorul lunii"! Cum s-a votat" [THE BEST Rapid takes IT ALL! » Săpunaru was chosen the "Player of August", and Mihai Iosif - "Coach of the Month"! How the voting took place]. Gazeta Sporturilor (in Romanian). 3 September 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cristian Săpunaru.|
- Cristian Săpunaru at RomanianSoccer.ro (in Romanian) and StatisticsFootball.com
- Cristian Săpunaru at ForaDeJogo
- Cristian Săpunaru at BDFutbol
- Cristian Săpunaru at National-Football-Teams.com
- Cristian Săpunaru at WorldFootball.net
- Cristian Săpunaru – FIFA competition record (archived)
- Cristian Săpunaru – UEFA competition record (archive)