Virgil Popescu

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Virgil Popescu
Personal information
Date of birth 1916
Place of birth Zlatna, Austro-Hungary
Date of death 1989
Playing position Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1938–1941 Vojvodina
1943–1944 Juventus Bucharest 7 (0)
1945–1948 Partizan Belgrade 17 (0)
Teams managed
1963–1964 Rijeka
1964–1965 Legia Warsaw
1965–1966 Partizan (assistant)
1966–1967 St. Gallen
1968–1970 Morocco Olympic
1970 Wormatia Worms
1970–1972 KAC Kénitra
1972–1973 JSK Kabylie
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Virgil Popescu (1916–1989) was a Romanian footballer and later coach. In Yugoslavia, he was known as Stanislav Popesku.


He was born in 1916 during the First World War, in the Transylvanian town of Zlatna,[1] back then within Austro-Hungary, nowadays in Romania.[2] In 1918, at the end of the war, his parents moved to the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed Yugoslavia. He began playing for Novi Sad club FK Vojvodina and was part of Vojvodina's so called Millionaires team at the beginning of the 1940s.[3] He played with Vojvodina in the Novi Sad subassociation league in the 1938–39 season [4] and then in the Serbian League between 1939 and 1941.[5][6]

The Second World War started in Yugoslavia in 1941. Popescu was at the time attending the Commercial Academy in Belgrade, and by 6 April 1941, he was a second lieutenant defending the country against German forces.[1] It took four days, on 10 April, when he was captured by Axis forces near Belgrade and taken to Romania to a concentration camp in Turnu Măgurele.[1] After spending two years in the camp, in 1943 he caught the attention of Juventus Bucharest boss Cezar Popescu who got the news that this 27-year-old defender who had played in Serbia was in the camp 8.[1] By explaining how Virgil Popescu was a Romanian and as such a German ally, he managed to release him from the camp and brought him to the team.[1] He made his debut for Bucharest side Juventus on 6 October, in a match against Craiova. He made 7 appearances for Juventus in the 1943–44 Romanian Divizia A.[7] However, not very long afterwards he entered the club offices and said that he had to leave to fight alongside Yugoslav Partisans and Marshal Tito in freeing Yugoslavia, and club officials accepted his will, so he returned to Yugoslavia and joined the resistance.[1]

He fought the Germans, and at the end of the war, in 1945, he was among the founders of Belgrade-based FK Partizan which became one of the major powers of Yugoslav football.[8] His passion for Serbia was such that he adopted a Serbian name, Stanislav.[1] He played with Partizan in the Yugoslav First League for two seasons. He played a total of 65 matches and scored once for Partizan, of which 17 matches were in the league.[9] Earlier, he played with SAP Vojvodina in the 1945 Yugoslav Football Tournament.[10] With Partizan he won the first Yugoslav post-World War II championship.

He later became a coach.[11] He coached Miroslav Blažević at NK Rijeka in the Yugoslav First League.[12] and was the assistant manager to Abdulah Gegić at Partizan when they reached the 1966 European Cup Final.[13] He also coached Polish side Legia Warsaw in the season 1964–65.[14] Popescu then managed Swiss team St. Gallen and Wormatia Worms in Germany[15] before moving to Morocco and Algeria to help develop football in those countries, there he coached the Moroccan Olympic side and KAC Kénitra.[16] In the 1972–73 season, he was at the helm of Algerian side JS Kabylie, with whom he won the championship.[17]





Legia Warsaw
JS Kabylie


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Popescu, românul care a fondat Partizan Belgrad, by Catalin Oprisan taken from Gazeta Sporturilor, 27-2-2011, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in Romanian)
  2. ^ Gabriel Enache nu e primul jucător român care semnează cu Partizan! Gazeta vă prezintă povestea lui Virgil Popescu: fost fundaș la Juventus și fondator al clubului sârb at, 20-6-2018 (in Romanian)
  3. ^ Na današnji dan - Velika pobeda nad Segedom at, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in Serbian)
  4. ^ 1938/39 FK Vojvodina season at
  5. ^ 1940/41 FK Vojvodina season at
  6. ^ 1939/40 FK Vojvodina season at
  7. ^ Povestea lui Virgil Popescu, romanul de la Legia, prietenul lui Flamaropol si Oana! at, 9-8-2013, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in Romanian)
  8. ^ Istorija kluba FK Partizan at, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in Serbian)
  9. ^ FK Partizan all-time players, Popesku #819 at FK Partizan official website, retrieved 3-1-2014
  10. ^ 1945 Yugoslav season at Ligaški vremeplov, at
  11. ^ Pamtim naslov: "Konac delo – Karasi" at Politika, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in Serbian)
  12. ^ 1963/64 NK Rijeka season at HNK Rijeka official website, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in Croatian)
  13. ^ Beše to jedne majske noći na Hejselu at FK Partizan official website, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in Serbian)
  14. ^ Trenerzy Legii Warszawa at Legia Warsaw official website, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in Polish)
  15. ^ Trainers Wormatia Worms at, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in German)
  16. ^ Entraîneurs KAC de Kénitra at, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in French)
  17. ^ Championne d'Algérie at, retrieved 3-1-2014 (in French)

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