Stefan Birtalan: The Romanian golden generation sniper
Although with an Hungarian background, Stefan Birtalan was born on September 25, 1948 in Jibou (Romania). Two decades and half after that, Birtalan became one the the Romanian handball legends.
Playing as a center back or in any position in the first offensive line, Birtalan was a real sniper. His powerfull shots and his physical conditions (1.95 meters high) made of him one of the most important players in the best Romanian handball generation, sharing the changing room with another amazing players like Gruia, Penu or Gatu.
Stefan Birtalan was two-times World Champion (in France 1970 and GRD 1974), being the top scorer in the World Championship held in the East Germany with 43 goals. Apart from that, the Romanian Legend played the first three Olympic Games which included indoor handball, winning two bronze medals (Munich 1972 and Moscow 1980) and one silver medal (Montreal 1976).
A legend for Steaua Bucharest
In club handball, Birtalan played the most of his career for Steaua Bucharest, winning 15 Romanian championships and 2 Romanian Cups. In 1977 Birtalan won the European Cup, beating CSKA Moscow in the final 21-20. Undoubtedly, Birtalan had an enviable career, just attainable for the best players in handball history. Example of that were his three Best World Player of the Year awards in 1974, 1976 and 1977. After his retirement, in the mid eighties, Stefan Birtalan became the coach of Steaua Bucharest during to different stages (from 1985 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2002). He also was the coach of the Romanian national team (1992-1993) and the Qatari national team (1994-1999).