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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

IHF Mourns Loss of Ștefan Birtalan


Tue 28 May 2024 | 01:22 PM
Ștefan Birtalan
Ștefan Birtalan
Mohamed Mandour

Ștefan Birtalan, one of the greatest Romanian handball players in history, has passed away aged 75 after a long battle with an illness.

Birtalan was a two-time world champion, securing the titles at the 1970 IHF Men’s World Championship in France and at the 1974 IHF Men’s World Championship in West Germany, as well as three medals at the Olympic Games, silver at Montreal 1976 and bronze at Munich 1972 and Moscow 1980.

A fantastic left back, with a cannon of an arm, Birtalan was also the top scorer at the 1974 IHF Men’s World Championship and at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, also being named the best player in the world three times.

With 231 matches played for the Romanian men’s senior national team, Birtalan scored 993 goals, being the third-best scorer in the history of the team.

At the club level, he played for Rapid CFR Jibou, Minaur Baia Mare and Steaua București, with his only experience outside Romania being at Italian team Tuscany Follonica, where he set a fantastic personal record, with 34 goals in a single match.

As a coach, Birtalan led Steaua București twice, as well as the Romania men’s national team and the Qatar men’s national team, spending five years in developing the Asian side, between 1994 and 1999.

On behalf of the entire IHF handball family, the IHF would like to express the deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ștefan Birtalan and all of those who worked alongside him.