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Fotbal Club Rapid Bucureşti (Romanian pronunciation: [raˈpid bukuˈreʃtʲ]) is a Romanian football club. It was founded in 1923 by a group workers of the Grivița workshops under the name of "Cultural and Sporting Association CFR" (Asociația culturală și sportivă C.F.R.). Rapid won the Romanian championship 3 times (1967, 1999 and 2003) and the Romanian Cup on thirteen occasions. In 2006, Rapid became an incorporated company, its largest share-holder being George Copos, a wealthy businessman.
In June 1923, Teofil Copaci, Grigore Grigoriu, Aurel Kahane, Geza Ginzer and other Jewish Romanian railroad workers agreed the fusion of two amateur clubs, "CFR" (ex-"Rampa Militari") and "Excelsior". After a few years, the team started competing in the first league in 1931.
During the pre-war years, Rapid was one of Romania's top teams, regularly winning the cup but never the championship although they came close. Once Rapid lost the championship because of fair play. One of Rapid's players touched the ball with his hand in the penalty area during a decisive match against Venus Bucharest. Rapid needed a win to finish first in the league. In the first place the referee did not see the incident but when hearing the audience protest the referee asked the player if he touched the ball with his hand, the player admitting. Venus converted the penalty and managed to draw 1-1 and to finish first in the league.
The railway workers were not the selection pool any longer, but a strong supporting audience. Some players were also selected in the national team. During those years, but also during the war, the competitions' formats changed for various reorganizations and some of the performances Rapid achieved were never considered as official successes, a good example being the championship of 1942. The strangest of all might be the qualification in the final of the Mitropa Cup (precursor of the UEFA Champions League, ) at a moment when the competition was taking its last breath.
In 1940 Rapid was the first football team in Romania who managed the European cup final qualification, the Central European Cup, undisputed because of the Second World War, but incomplete edition by withdrawing Austria following the Anschluss, Czechoslovakia and Italy due to war. Rapid manages to win the title of champion in 1967.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Rapid reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup and won Romanian cup in 1972 and 1975 before getting worse and worse, becoming confined in the second league for 6 years in a row. Even with Stănescu as coach they couldn't do better than returning to the lower ranks of the first league. The club was slowly starved, with less and less money in a championship where the leading teams were competing at a European level (in 1986, one was winning Champions Cup, although claiming non-professional status for their players). They narrowly avoided relegation in 1987 in the last match of the season.
In 1990 the fall of communism brought only partial solutions, until 1992 when Traian Băsescu, then-Minister of Transportation, appointed a new manager (Marcel Pușcaș) and a new coach (Mircea Rădulescu), both experienced, which had previously worked for the national team. In the UEFA Cup, Rapid was defeated by Internazionale (1-3 and 0-2). It was the moment when George Copos started managing the Rapid business, finding strong corporate sponsorships and winning political capital.
In the following years, the most important official honours were won ( two league championships a few FA cups and the most important European achievements ) especially due to a careful appointment of coaches. The most famous coach that managed Rapid is Mircea Lucescu, the man who transformed the club into a force in the Romanian championship again. Also. his son Răzvan Lucescu was the manager with the greatest performance in a European Cup with RAPID, in UEFA Cup. However, the coach that won the most trophies for the club is Mircea Rednic. After a few years during which their experience in European cups was limited, Rapid is starting to perform better, and, for the third time in the post-war history, in 2005-2006, due to UEFA Cup rules relaxation, the team has reached the spring, upper-level, phases of the European competitions, up to the quarter-finals. Rapid was stopped by Steaua Bucharest after a 1-1 draw at home and a 0-0 draw away. After 2006-2007 championship, Razvan Lucescu left Rapid and went to FC Braşov.Cristiano Bergodi was named as the coach of Rapid but after he won the Romanian Supercup and he was unbeaten in the championship,he was sacked by the club's owner George Copos. Rapid finished the 2007-2008 championship on 3rd place.Next season,Fathi Taher became the new owner of Rapid and he named Jose Peseiro as coach and brought a lot of players investing a lot of money. However Peseiro's performances were weak and he was sacked.Rapid finished the season on 8th place,missing the European cups.In 2009-2010 season,Viorel Hizo was the coach of Rapid but the team missed Europe again. In 2010-2011, Marius Sumudica came as coach and Dinu Gheorghe returned as the club's chairman. Rapid finished 4 and qualified for Europe after 2 years. The 2011-2012 season will start with Razvan Lucescu as the team's coach.
Rapid supporters make an important part of the club's image. They are commonly referred as Legione Granata (The Crimson Legion). Groups presence is signaled by banners bearing their names: Ultras Unione, B'921, Constanta Visinie, Chicos del Infierno (CDI), Official Hooligans, Inferno, Maniacs, Grant Ultras, Cltv, Alcoolica, Radicals and so on. Traveling with the team for away matches being a custom since the first years of the club, local derbies being no exception. Immediately after the fall of the communist regime, on 14 February 1990, the Rapid Supporters League (Liga Suporterilor Rapidiști, LSR) was legally established.
A unique organization in Romania is the Rapid Aristocratic Club. The club's members are well-known artists, their purpose being spreading and defending Rapid's history and tradition.
Rapid's supporters are creating some of the most impressive shows in Romanian sport singing most of the time during matches and sometimes before the matches start. The most impressive moment in the Giulești Stadium is when Rapid's anthem is being played at the beginning of each match and every supporter is standing on their feet, waving a flag in the colors of the club or displaying a white and crimson scarf and singing along
From the historic point of view, Rapid's traditional rival is Petrolul from Ploiești. Rapid fans and Ploiești fans have never ended their rivalry, even if the teams didn't meet (as either would often plays in the second tier of Romanian football). On a national basis, Rapid's greatest rivalries are with the 2 other teams from Bucharest, FC Steaua Bucureşti and FC Dinamo Bucureşti. Matches between the three Bucharest rivals often end up with clashes between the rival supporters after or before the match in which the police force is often caught in the middle. FC Universitatea Craiova is also one of Rapid's rivals.
Rapid supporters consider FC Politehnica Timişoara supporters as their allies, as both teams were suppressed by the communist regime in the past. Fans of both teams had the opportunity to support the other during matches. Most recently, Rapid fans supported Timişoara during their games in Bucharest, and Timişoara fans supported Rapid during Rapid's Romanian Cup game against Pandurii Targu Jiu, played in Timişoara's Stadionul Dan Păltinişanu.
The history of Giulești Stadium begins in the year 1934. On the 31 of March CFR begins the construction of a field on the Giulești Road. The field would have a width of 65 m and a length of 105 m.
At first the mayor of Bucharest did not want to authorize the construction of the stadium because it did not fit in the systematization of the capital. Eventually the authorization was given and in April 1936 it was estimated that the stadium would be ready in September. The construction did begin in that year but it lasted more than two. The chief architect was Gheorghe Dumitrescu.
The stadium was inaugurated on 10 June 1939. At the time, it was the most modern stadium in Romania, a smaller replica of Arsenal's Highbury Stadium with a capacity of 12160 seats. Among the guests at the opening ceremony was King Carol II and his son, future King Michael of Romania.
The construction of the north stand was ended in the mid 90's, the capacity being increased to 19100 seats. The pitch was changed in 2003, being considered the best in Romania at the time . The floodlight was installed in the summer of 2000. The stadium got the name of "Valentin Stănescu" in 2001, in respect to the manager who won the first championship for Rapid, but it is still commonly known as "Giulești Stadium", by the name of the neighborhood it is located in. Landmarks near the stadium: Grant Bridge, Giulești Theatre, Gara de Nord (North Station) and Grivița Railway Yards.
FC Rapid Bucureşti in Europe
Including 2011–12 season
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
In the Romanian league only five non-EU nationals can be registered and given a squad number for the first team . Those non-EU nationals with European ancestry can claim citizenship from the nation their ancestors came from. If a player does not have European ancestry he can claim Romanian citizenship after playing in Romania for 7 years. Players such as Ezequias do not count as non-EU because they have dual citizenship with a EU country. In addition, players from the ACP countries—countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific that are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement—are not counted against non-EU quotas, due to the Kolpak ruling.
Year of debut at Rapid in parenthesis
* Season in progress.
1 Coman · 2 Duarte · 3 Ezequias · 4 António · 5 Alexa · 7 Deac · 8 Grigore · 9 Cássio · 10 Herea · 11 Pancu · 14 Roman · 15 Oros · 16 Burcă · 17 Creţu · 19 Božović · 20 Grigorie · 21 Sburlea · 23 Constantin · 24 Surdu · 27 Gláuber · 32 Apostol · 80 Teixeira · 89 Straton · Răduţă · Coach: Lucescu
Krüger (1933) · Huniade (1934) · Krüger (1934) · Wana (1935) · Konrád (1936–37) · Avar (1937–39) · Schaffer (1939–40) · Avar (1940–41) · Barátky (1941–45) · Wetzer II (1945) · Lengheriu (1946) · Braun-Bogdan (1946–47) · Rónay (1947) · Moldoveanu (1948) · Steinbach (1948–52) · Lengheriu (1953) · Ghiurițan (1953–54) · Rónay (1954–59) · Ghiurițan (1959–60) · Mihăilescu (1960–62) · Roșculeț (1962–63) · Stănculescu (1963) · Stănescu (1963–68) · Bărbulescu (1968–71) · Marian (1971–72) · Macri (1973) · Urecheatu (1974) · Motroc (1975–77) · Marian (1977–78) · Lupescu (1978–80) · Ionescu (1980–81) · Kraus (1981) · Stănescu (1982–84) · Stănculescu (1984) · Kraus (1985) · Lupescu (1985–86) · Codreanu (1986) · Cernăianu (1986–87) · Kraus (1987) · Dumitru (1987–88) · Greavu (1988) · Pop (1988–90) · Cosmoc (1990–91) · Constantin (1991–92) · Rădulescu (1992–93) · Puşcaş (1993) · Hizo (1993–95) · Cârţu (1995) · Rădulescu (1995–96) · Dumitru (1996–97) · Manea (1997) · M. Lucescu (1997–98) · Dumitriu (1999) · M. Lucescu (1999–2000) · Iordănescu (2000) · Rednic (2000–01) · Hizo (2001–02) · Rednic (2002–03) · Petrescu (2004) · Hizo (2004) · R. Lucescu (2004–07) · Bergodi (2007) · Rednic (2007–08) · Rada (2008) · Peseiro (2008) · Hizo (2009) · Rada (2009) · Manea (2009–10) · Andone (2010) · Şumudică (2010–11) · Rada (2011) · R. Lucescu (2011–)