Cristian Ganea was born in Bistrita, Romania and moved to the Basque Country with his family when he was young. He trained at local Basque academies like Indartsu, making him eligible to play for Athletic, and even played for the Basque Country U18 team alongside others such as Sabin Merino and Ander Capa. He signed with Mallorca in 2010, but never made it to the first team and spent a loan spell at Santanyí. The left-back then returned to Romania and spent time with four clubs in that country before finally finding a home at Viitorul Constanta where he began to break out as a footballer. He has featured for the Romanian National Team and on 15 September, 2017 Athletic announced that they had signed Ganea from Viitorul for an undisclosed fee. He played the rest of the year with Viitorul and will join Athletic in the summer of 2018 where he will also be closer to his family who still live in the Basque Country.
Cristian Ganea is under contract through 2021 and his deal contains a €40 million release clause.