Former Celtic trialist George Tucudean returned to Scotland in some style after he scored CFR Cluj’s match-winner in last night’s Champions League qualifier and his career is an inspiring story.
Tucudean scored with the last kick of the ball deep, deep into stoppage time to send his team to the next round of the Champions League. He left the stadium in tears after bagging a last-gasp winner in a highly emotional night.
It was an extra special game for the Romanian who had a trial at Celtic when he was just 15-years-old, and he also revealed pre-match that the second-leg could be his last professional match due to a heart condition.
The 28-year-old striker underwent heart surgery last month and subsequently missed some fixtures, but he was hellbent on playing at Celtic Park.
Speaking before Tuesday’s heroics, he said: “I had to go to Austria last month for minimally invasive heart surgery and I missed some games.
“Doctors have assured me I am safe, and nothing will happen, and I believe I am back at the same level of fitness as everyone else, but obviously it’s going to be difficult for me.”
Tucudean added: “I am hoping to play in Glasgow against Celtic because I spent some time there on trial when I was 15.
“I stayed with a family in Scotland but decided to come back home. A teammate of mine stayed on.
“When in Scotland, I trained with some very famous Celtic players like Shunsuke Nakamura, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Artur Boruc and Massimo Donati.
“I went to Celtic’s game against Barcelona when they were 60,000 fans who made an incredible atmosphere.
“These are the matches that you want to be a part of when you are a player and you want to give everything.
“We are playing well and scoring goals so there is no reason why we cannot qualify.”
Tucudean, who also enjoyed a spell at Charlton Athletic between 2014 to 2016, will be hoping to send Cluj to the Champions League proper.