Nasko Sirakov

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Nasko Sirakov
Nasko sirakov.jpg
Personal information
Full name Nasko Petkov Sirakov
Date of birth (1962-04-26) 26 April 1962 (age 52)
Place of birth Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1975–1980 Levski Sofia
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1980 Levski Sofia 3 (0)
1980–1981 Spartak Varna 21 (4)
1981–1982 FC Haskovo 35 (8)
1983–1988 Levski Sofia 131 (89)
1988–1990 Zaragoza 41 (10)
1990–1991 Español 24 (3)
1991–1992 Levski Sofia 27 (26)
1992 Lens 11 (3)
1993–1994 Levski Sofia 57 (51)
1995 Botev Plovdiv 20 (4)
1995–1998 Slavia Sofia 36 (19)
Total 406 (217)
National team
1983–1996 Bulgaria 79 (23)
1990 Catalonia 1[1] (?)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Petkov and the family name is Sirakov.

Nasko Petkov Sirakov (Bulgarian: Наско Петков Сираков; born 26 April 1962) is a retired Bulgarian footballer who played mainly as a striker.

Part of the Bulgarian team at the 1994 FIFA World Cup as it finished fourth, he was one of the most important footballers in the country in the 1980s/1990s, being a legend at Levski Sofia, a club he represented in four different spells.

Having surpassed the 200-goal mark as a professional – he was crowned the country's top division topscorer four times – Sirakov also worked with his main club in directorial capacities.

Club career[edit]

Born in Stara Zagora, the son of professional wrestler Petko Sirakov, Sirakov started playing as a striker, playing three games for PFC Levski Sofia's first team in 1980, having joined the club's youth system at the age of 13. In the following years, he developed his game with PFC Spartak Varna and lowly FC Haskovo, returning to Levski after two seasons (he also played briefly for the latter club in the 1982–83 season.

In his second stint at Levski, Sirakov began appearing regularly, for example scoring 15 goals in only 19 matches in 1984–85 A PFG, as the capital team won the league. From 1986–88, with the club now renamed Vitosha, he helped to another championship, as well as leading the goal charts in both seasons, scoring 64 goals combined – 36 in just 30 matches in the first year, although the championship was eventually lost to PFC CSKA Sofia, by three points. During this spell, he also won two Bulgarian Cups with the club.

Sirakov moved abroad for the first time in 1988, playing for the following three years in La Liga, with Real Zaragoza and RCD Español. Subsequently, he returned to Levski: in the first season upon his return, he netted 26 times in 27 matches, but the club again lost to CSKA.

In the summer of 1992, 30-year old Sirakov signed with Ligue 1's RC Lens, but returned to his main club in the following transfer window, helping it to three consecutive league wins, whilst being crowned the competition's topscorer on another two occasions. He finished the 1994–95 season with PFC Botev Plovdiv, still contributing decisively in Levski's championship win, scoring 12 in only 10 matches.

Sirakov closed his career at the age of 36, after three years with another team in the capital, PFC Slavia Sofia, winning a double in his last season in professional football, although his league presence was testimonial (one game). During his career in his country, he amassed totals of 294 matches and 196 goals in the top division, the second best achievement after Petar Zhekov; only with his main club, Levski, he scored 165 times in 205 games, a club record.

Sirakov briefly managed Slavia Sofia in 1997. In the following decade, he worked as director of football for Levski, being fired on 7 May 2008, and being succeeded by former club and national teammate Daniel Borimirov.[2]

International career[edit]

Sirakov was also a regular for Bulgaria during 13 years, making his debut on 7 August 1983, against Algeria.

He represented the nation at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico – scoring against Italy in the group stage (1–1) and helping the national team to the round of 16 – and at the 1994 World Cup in the United States: during the latter, as Bulgaria finished in a best-ever fourth position, he played in all the matches, scoring against Argentina for a 2–0 group stage win, also earning penalties against Greece and in the semifinal loss against Italy.[3]

Aged 34, Sirakov was also picked for UEFA Euro 1996 in England, playing the last of his 82 matches (23 goals) on 13 June, against Romania, after replacing Luboslav Penev in a 1–0 win.[4] Immediately after retiring from international play, Sirakov served as assistant to the national team, appearing with it at the 1998 World Cup.

References[edit]

External links[edit]