Former football star Nicolae Dobrin, one of the few Romanian football players to be courted by Real Madrid at his peak in the communist seventies, has been hospitalized in serious condition in his home city of Pitesti.

Doctors were monitoring his condition continuously on Thursday as he undergoes complex procedures necessary to remove complications sparked by a surgical intervention this spring.

Dobrin suffered an intervention to remove a lung tumor half a year ago.

Dobrin won two national championship titles with his FC Arges team in 1972 and 1979 and qualified for the World Championship in Mexico in 1970. When he was playing for FC Arges the team beat Real Madrid 2-1, which prompted the Spanish team to court him for transfer.

Transferring a Romanian football player abroad was unconceivable for the communist regime that ruled in Romania at the time.