Hristo Stoichkov

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Hristo Stoichkov
Христо Стоичков
Hristo Stoichkov FC Litex Lovech manager.JPG
Stoichkov in the summer of 2012 as coach of Litex Lovech
Personal information
Full name Hristo Stoichkov Stoichkov
Date of birth (1966-02-08) 8 February 1966 (age 48)
Place of birth Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1976–1982 Maritsa Plovdiv
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981–1982 Zavod "Yuri Gagarin" 16 (3)
1982–1984 Hebros 32 (14)
1984–1990 CSKA Sofia 119 (81)
1990–1995 Barcelona 151 (77)
1995–1996 Parma 23 (5)
1996–1998 Barcelona 26 (7)
1998 CSKA Sofia 4 (1)
1998 Al-Nassr 2 (1)
1998–1999 Kashiwa Reysol 28 (13)
2000–2002 Chicago Fire 51 (17)
2003 D.C. United 21 (5)
Total 473 (225)
National team
1986–1999 Bulgaria 84 (38)
Teams managed
2004–2007 Bulgaria
2007 Celta Vigo
2009–2010 Mamelodi Sundowns
2012–2013 Litex Lovech
2013 CSKA Sofia
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Hristo Stoichkov Stoichkov (Bulgarian: Христо Стоичков Стоичков; born 8 February 1966 in Plovdiv) is a retired Bulgarian footballer who is currently a football pundit for Univision Deportes. He is regarded as one of the best footballers of his generation[1] and the greatest Bulgarian footballer of all time.[2][3] While he was still active, he was nicknamed The Dagger (Камата) and The Modern Left (Модерния ляв).[citation needed] In 1990 he joined FC Barcelona where he earned the Spanish nickname 'El Pistolero' which translates to 'the gunslinger'. At Barcelona he was part of Johan Cruyff's "dream team" that won four consecutive La Liga titles and one UEFA Champions League.

Stoichkov was a member of the Bulgaria national team that finished fourth at the 1994 World Cup, of which he was the top scorer with 6 goals. Apart from his footballing talent, he was notable for his on-pitch temper. His awards include the European Golden Shoe, the Ballon d'Or, the World Cup Golden Shoe and the World Cup Bronze Ball. In 1992 and 1994 he was runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year award, and in 2004 he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the "125 Greatest Living Footballers".[4]

Club career[edit]

Stoichkov was born in the village of Yasno Pole near Plovdiv. The people of Yasno Pole voted in 1997 to change to the name to Stoichkovo in his honour.[5] Stoichkov began his career in his hometown, moving to Hebros in 1984. The next year he went to the most successful Bulgarian football team of all time, CSKA Sofia. At the beginning of his five years stay at CSKA, Stoichkov—who later became famous for his short temper—became involved in a fight during the final of the 1985 Bulgarian Cup, which resulted in an original lifelong ban, later reduced to a month suspension.[6] After he was brought back to football, he managed to win the European Golden Boot with CSKA by scoring 38 goals in 30 games.

After 5 years with CSKA Sofia, Stoichkov transferred to Barcelona. In his first season with the club Stoichkov was suspended for two months for stomping on a referee's foot,[7] but he still netted 14 league goals and six more in the Cup Winners' Cup. He became part of Johan Cruyff's 'Dream Team', and helped Barcelona to one of the most successful eras of the club, winning the Primera Division four years in a row between 1991 and 1994 and the European Cup after defeating Sampdoria in 1992. During his stay in Barcelona, he had become an idol for the club's fans. In Barcelona Stoichkov played in tandem with Romário. In 1994, he was named European Footballer of the Year after leading his national side to the 1994 World Cup semi-finals.

Stoichkov then had short spells with Parma, Al-Nassr, and finally finishing his career in Japan with Kashiwa Reysol and the United States with the Chicago Fire and D.C. United.

International career[edit]

At the 1994 World Cup, Stoichkov was awarded the World Cup Golden Boot as the joint top goal scorer of the tournament (with Oleg Salenko), with six goals, as well as earning the Bronze Ball award. He led Bulgaria past Germany in the quarterfinals 2-1, a shock result as Germany were the then-defending champions; in the semi-finals, they lost 2–1 to Italy. They subsequently lost the third place play-off to Sweden, 4–0.

Bulgaria finished second in the qualifying group for Euro 1996 behind Germany. Stoichkov scored 10 goals for his team during the qualifiers, as Bulgaria qualified as one of the best 6 runners-up. In the first match against Germany in Sofia, Bulgaria were 2–0 down at half-time. Stoichkov equalized with two goals from penalties and Emil Kostadinov also scored for a 3–2 win. Bulgaria lost the second match in Germany 3–1. During the finals, Bulgaria lost 3–1 in the decisive group match against a strong France side; in the other match, Spain won 2–1 against Romania and so the Bulgarians went out. In that tournament, Stoichkov scored 3 goals in 3 matches.

He was also part of the squad that was eliminated in the first round of the 1998 World Cup. Bulgaria was not nearly as strong as in previous years, earning only one point in a 0–0 draw against Paraguay and scoring only one goal through Kostadinov in a 6–1 defeat by Spain.

Stoichkov retired from internationals in 1999 with 37 goals in 83 appearances. Subsequently he was the coach of the Bulgarian national team from 2004 to April 2007.

Style of play[edit]

Stoichkov played as a left footed forward who was known for his explosive acceleration and speed dribbling, and for taking unpredictable shots on goal. He was also notable at taking free kicks and penalties as well as being a very good crosser. He gained infamy because of his aggressive temper on the pitch. He could often be seen arguing with the referee, or with his opponents. In 2006, he was sued by a former American University college student whose leg he broke in a violent tackle during a match against D.C. United in 2003. The case was settled out of court in 2007 for undisclosed financial terms.[8] The student's coach called Stoichkov's challenge "criminal". Ray Hudson, who coached D.C. United for whom Stoichkov played at the time, called it a "rash tackle". Following an investigation by MLS, Stoichkov was suspended two games and fined $2,000.[9]

Managing career[edit]

In the 2003–04 season, Stoichkov started a managing career, serving as a forwards coach at Barça. After Bulgarian national team manager Plamen Markov resigned in the wake of the team's first-round exit from Euro 2004, the Bulgarian Football Union named him as the new national team manager on 15 July.

Stoichkov's managing career got off to a bad start with him failing to qualify the Bulgarian national team for the 2006 World Cup. He brought his bad temper from his career as a player to the bench. A couple of proven players quit the team due to personal differences with Stoichkov. The most notable scandal was on 5 September 2003, in a game against Sweden, where he was sent-off for insulting the referee.

The biggest blow to Stoichkov as a manager of the national team of Bulgaria came on 12 October 2006, when Stiliyan Petrov, the captain of the team, announced he would not play for Bulgaria as long as Stoichkov was manager.[10] Petrov is the third player and the second captain in two years to leave the team because of differences with Stoichkov. However, on 17 March 2007, Stiliyan Petrov announced that he had had a private conversation with Stoichkov, in which they were able to work their differences out. As a result, Petrov would return to the team.[11]

On 10 April 2007, the Bulgarian Football Union announced they had accepted the resignation of Stoichkov from his post with the national team. That was as a result of the poor performance of the team at the ongoing Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, followed by widely spread criticism and debate over the qualities of the manager. The specific game, which led to increased pressure on Stoichkov, was the 0–0 home draw with Albania (despite the fact that the Bulgarians generally controlled the game and hit the post twice). He had a short disappointing stint as manager at Celta Vigo, for which he was sacked following the team's slump that took them to the lower reaches of the Spanish Second Division. On 8 October 2007, he was replaced by ex-Real Madrid manager Juan Ramón López Caro. On 12 March 2009, Stoichkov visited the Manchester City training ground after requesting a visit.[12]

On 29 June 2009, Stoichkov moved to Mamelodi Sundowns, where he replaced Henri Michel.[13] On 16 March 2010 he quit Mamelodi Sundowns, with the former South African national team manager Trott Moloto named caretaker until a full-time replacement is found.[14]

In 2011, Vietnam Football Federation invited him to become the first Bulgarian head manager of Vietnam national football team.[citation needed] As of the 2011–12 season he works as an advisor at Russian team FC Rostov.[citation needed]

In January 2012, he was appointed as manager of Bulgarian side Litex replacing Lyuboslav Penev, who left to become manager of the Bulgarian national football team. In May 2013, Stoichkov was recognized as the A PFG manager of the season following a vote by the professional footballers in the Bulgarian league.[15]

In June 2013, Stoichkov was named the manager of Bulgarian powerhouse CSKA Sofia, but quit one month later after he lost faith in the troubled club.

Career statistics[edit]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Bulgaria League Bulgarian Cup League Cup Europe Total
1982–83 Hebros 11 4 11 4
1983–84 21 10 21 10
1984–85 CSKA Sofia A PFG 11 0 11 0
1985–86 19 2 19 2
1986–87 25 16 2 0 - 7 1 34 17
1987–88 27 20 4 4 - 7 5 38 29
1988–89 26 28 7 3 - 8 8 41 39
1989–90 30 38 5 7 - 3 2 38 47
Spain League Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga Europe Total
1990–91 FC Barcelona La Liga 24 14 6 2 - 8 5 38 21
1991–92 32 17 2 1 - 9 4 43 22
1992–93 33 20 6 2 - 6 2 45 24
1993–94 34 16 6 1 - 8 7 48 24
1994–95 26 10 4 5 - 8 3 38 18
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1995–96 Parma Serie A 23 5 2 0 - 5 2 30 7
Spain League Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga Europe Total
1996–97 FC Barcelona La Liga 22 7 6 1 - 6 0 34 8
1997–98 4 0 1 0 - 3 1 8 1
Bulgaria League Bulgarian Cup League Cup Europe Total
1997–98 CSKA Sofia A PFG 4 1 4 1
Saudi Arabia League Crown Prince Cup League Cup Asia Total
1997–98 Al-Nassr 2 1 2 1
Japan League Emperor's Cup J. League Cup Asia Total
1998 Kashiwa Reysol J. League Division 1 16 8 1 0 0 0 - 17 8
1999 11 4 0 0 1 1 - 12 5
United States League Open Cup League Cup North America Total
2000 Chicago Fire Major League Soccer 18 9 3 1 21 10
2001 17 6 3 2 20 8
2002 16 2 0 0 16 2
2003 D.C. United 21 5 3 1 24 6
Country Bulgaria 174 119 18 14 - 25 16 217 149
Spain 175 84 31 12 - 48 22 254 118
Italy 23 5 2 0 - 5 2 30 7
Saudi Arabia 2 1 2 1
Japan 27 12 1 0 1 1 - 29 13
United States 72 22 9 4 81 26
Total 473 243 61 30 1 1 78 40 613 314

[16]

Bulgaria national team
Year Apps Goals
1986 1 1
1987 3 0
1988 12 4
1989 8 1
1990 4 0
1991 3 2
1992 5 2
1993 6 4
1994 11 9
1995 7 7
1996 5 5
1997 4 1
1998 10 1
1999 5 1
Total 84 38

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 8 July 2013.
Team From To Competition Record
G W D L Win % GF GA GD
Bulgaria 15 July 2004 10 April 2007 Competitive 15 6 6 3 40.00 24 20 +4
Friendlies[nb 1] 14 7 5 2 50.00 24 14 +10
Total 29 13 11 5 44.83 48 34 +14
Celta Vigo April 2007 8 October 2007 League 16 7 1 8 43.75 18 22 –4
Copa del Rey 1 0 0 1 00.00 1 2 –1
Total 17 7 1 9 41.18 19 24 –5
Mamelodi Sundowns 29 June 2009 16 March 2010 Premier Soccer League 30 16 8 6 53.33 43 24 +19
Total 30 16 8 6 53.33 43 24 +19
Litex Lovech 5 January 2012 31 May 2013 Bulgarian A Professional Football Group 46 25 9 12 54.35 89 38 +51
Bulgarian Cup 8 5 1 2 62.50 14 4 +10
Total 54 30 10 14 55.56 103 42 +61
CSKA Sofia 5 June 2013 8 July 2013 Bulgarian A Professional Football Group 0 0 0 0 ! 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 ! 0 0 0
Career totals League 92 48 18 26 52.17 150 84 +66
Cup 9 5 1 3 55.56 15 6 +9
Competitive 15 6 6 3 40.00 24 20 +4
Friendlies 14 7 5 2 50.00 24 14 +10
Total 130 66 30 34 50.77 213 124 +89

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Club[edit]

CSKA Sofia
Barcelona
Al-Nassr
Chicago Fire

International[edit]

Bulgaria

Individual[edit]

Manager[edit]

Club[edit]

Mamelodi Sundowns

Individual[edit]

Further honours[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Includes Kirin Cup.

References[edit]

  1. ^ HRISTO STOICHKOV | FCBarcelona.cat. Fcbarcelona.com. Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
  2. ^ *** Bulgarian Sport : HRISTO STOICHKOV *** – Catalog for Bulgarian sport. Visittobulgaria.com. Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
  3. ^ Football Legend Stoichkov Backs Bulgaria Ruling Party Presidential Hopeful. Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency (17 September 2011). Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ First XI: A burning hatred – ESPN FC. Soccernet.espn.go.com (13 October 2011). Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
  7. ^ The singular genius of the mad boy Hristo. heraldscotland.com (16 April 2007)
  8. ^ Goff, Steven. "AU Player Settles With Club, MLS, Stoitchkov". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  9. ^ Goff, Steven (27 February 2007). "Player Hurt in United Scrimmage in '03 Seeks Damages". The Washington Post. 
  10. ^ Petrov steps back from Bulgaria. UEFA (12 October 2006).
  11. ^ Petrov returns to Bulgaria fold. UEFA (19 March 2007).
  12. ^ Niemann, Christoph. (30 May 2013) Report: Celta Vigo fires coach Hristo Stoitchkov –. International Herald Tribune. Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Stoichkov named coach of South Africa's Sundowns". ESPN (London). 29 June 2009. 
  14. ^ Hristo Stoitchkov not to renew contract. psl.co.za (17 March 2010).
  15. ^ "Стоичков е треньор №1 в "А" група, втори е Стоилов, а трети – Петев". topsport.bg (Sofia). 18 May 2013. 
  16. ^ Hristo Stoichkov – Goals in International Matches. Rsssf.com (22 January 2009). Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Hristo Stoichkov and Katlego Mphela were awarded PSL Coach and Player of the month". 9 October 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2010. 
  18. ^ Golden Players take centre stage. UEFA (29 November 2003).

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Trifon Ivanov
Bulgaria captain
1998–1999
Succeeded by
Krassimir Balakov