Here’s a question for you: who was the first player to win the European Cup with two different teams? Well, that player was Miodrag Belodedici, a cultured midfielder who won the title with Steaua Bucharest in 1986. Here is the amazing penalty shoot out, where Steaua’s Helmuth Duckadam saved all four of Barcelona’s penalties.
He repeated the feat in 1991, with Red Star Belgrade, when they won on penalties against Marseille. This time Belodedici scored in the shootout.
But that only tells half the story. Belodedici was brought up in Socol, on the Romanian/Yugoslav border. In the 70s and 80s this was the bloodiest border in Europe. He would grow up with the sounds of gunshots as border guards would kill those trying desperately to cross the Danube to escape Ceausescu’s murderous police state.
Yet he played for Steaua, the army team, before fleeing the country and being charged with treason. He fled to Serbia and turned up at Red Star Belgrade, before returning home after Romania’s 1989 revolution and Ceausescu’s Christmas Day execution.
I went to Romania to speak to Belodedici about his amazing life for the BBC World Service’s World Football show. You can hear my interview with him, and more about his amazing story, here….
I also recently wrote a long read feature on Belodedici for The Blizzard, which you can read here.