Razvan Lucescu was born on February 17, 1969 in Bucharest, Romania. The son of the great Mircea Lucescu, who had a brilliant career not only as a player but also as a coach, saw his son follow in his father’s footsteps from a young age.
As a player, the young Razvan was a goalkeeper, while at the same time he was an excellent student, always listening to the advice of his father and mentor. He wore the jerseys of Sportul Studens, National Bucharest, Brasov, Rapid Bucharest and Bacau, making more than 200 appearances in the Romanian top flight. He hung up his gloves at the age of 34 and immediately sought to find his new role in the sport.
The first coaching steps
Razvan began his coaching career in 1999, but his first job was as a technical director. This position made him realize, however, that he missed the action too much and so he decided to take on the role of a coach. After a year in Brasov, Rapid Bucharest’s management gave him the opportunity to be at the helm of the team. He stayed there for three years and managed to win the Romanian Cup twice, leading the team to third, second and fourth place in the league respectively, while in the 2005-06 season, despite a bad start to the campaign that almost cost him his place, the team reached the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup.
In the summer of 2007, after a disagreement with the president of the team, he left Rapid and despite having many offers from some bigger clubs, he decided to return to Brasov, who had been relegated to the second division. In the two years he remained there, he brought the club back to the top division. In April 2009 came the biggest challenge of his career so far.
Head of the Romanian national team
The country’s football federation selected him as Victor Piturca’s successor on the bench of the Romanian national team. Lucescu accepted the offer, leaving Brasov in ninth place in the league and taking over the reins of his country’s national team. He remained in the position for two years. He left in June 2011, after a great victory over Bosnia, which greatly increased the chances of participating in Euro 2012. However, he felt that the people of the federation had lost confidence in him.
It was not long before he found a new professional home. He returned to Rapid Bucharest and led them into the Europa League group stage. The team finished fourth in the championship and reached the domestic cup final.
From Qatar to Xanthi
In May 2012, he signed a two-year contract with El Jais, a Qatari team. In his first season he won the cup, led the team to the knockout stage of the Pan-Asian Championship, and then left in January 2014.
Two months later, Petrolul Ploiesti hired him, but his stay proved short-lived, as he left just six months later after leading the team to third place in the league and to the semi-finals of the cup.
On September 24, 2014 he came to Greece on behalf of Xanthi, ignoring his father’s advice. A year later came the vindication. Under his guidance, Xanthi played excellent football and reached the final of the Greek Cup for the first time in their history.
The following year did not turn out as expected in the team. Xanthi could not find their rhythm on the pitch and even flirted with relegation. The situation changed completely the following season. The team once again found its rhythm, claimed a place in Europe, but was eliminated from the cup by the eventual winners PAOK.
Despite the management’s desire to continue working with him, Lucsescu decided to leave the club and look for a new challenge in his career. The Romanian coach was in no hurry to make a decision and eventually signed a contract with PAOK, replacing Aleksandar Stanojevic.
A historic two years
Under the guidance of Razvan Lucescu, PAOK experienced the two most successful years in the club’s history. With the Romanian coach at the helm, PAOK won the Greek Cup in 2018, while they also won the championship on the pitch, before being deprived of it in the courtrooms.
The 2018-19 season was a dream come true. PAOK swept all before them on Greek soil, winning the championship for the first time in 34 years, and also even finishing the season undefeated. The club also achieved the first double in their history, winning the Greek Cup again.
At the end of the season, Lucsescu accepted Al Hilal’s offer and became a resident of Saudi Arabia.
Treble and return
With Al Hilal, Lucescu won the treble, after beating the Urava Red Diamonds in the AFC Champions League final, in addition to the domestic double. The Romanian and his associates remained at the club for about 1.5 years, leaving last February after enjoying the most successful period for the club.
Three months later and following the end of the season in Greece, PAOK and Lucsescu shook hands and agreed on his return to the Double-headed Eagle bench for the 2021-22 season.