Cristian Gatu: the little orchestra conductor who revoluzioned the game
Sometimes, one special player emerges. This kind of handballers do not fit the typical player stereotype. Cristian Gatu was one of them. Despite his short height (1.75 m and 75 kg), Gatu showed that centimeters are not so valuable when you are on the court.
Born on August 20, 1945 in Bucharest, Gatu was the real conductor of the Romanian Golden Generation Symphony Orchestra that controlled world handball during the seventies. The Romanian playmaker made the most of his electric speed changes and fantasy to find the perfect pass in the perfect moment.
Gatu won two World Championships with that amazing Romania, apart from the bronze medal in Sweden 1967. Gatu also won two olympic medals: a bronze one in Munich 1972 and a silver one in Montreal 1976. With Steaua Bucharest, he won lots of national titles, although his biggest achievement was the European Cup won in 1977, after beating in the final the powerful CSKA Moskow.
Cristian Gatu’s legacy as a player is undeniable. His unique way of understanding the game made handball a more dynamic and spectacular sport, something never seen before. Gatu’s game was unpredictable for his opponents, who had never been so afraid of a player so short. Due to his leadership, it was not strange that Gatu choose to become an executive, both in his club, being the President of Steaua Bucharest from 1997 to 1998, and in the Romanian Handball Federation, which he manages since 1996.