|Full name||Robert Alexander Petar Stambolziev|
|Date of birth||26 October 1990|
|Place of birth||Melbourne, Australia|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|2009||→ Kavala (loan)||0||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Robert Alexander Petar Stambolziev (born 26 October 1990 in Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian Association footballer of Macedonian origin who plays for Niki Volos F.C. in the Superleague Greece.
Stambolziev began playing in the junior teams of Melbourne-based club Preston Lions before joining the reserve-team of Hume City in 2006. He then joined the youth academy of England's Bristol City in 2007, featuring for the club's under-18 squad in the 2007–08 and 2008–09 FA Youth Cup editions and also for the club's reserve-team. Having scored 9 goals in 23 league appearances in the 2008–09 Premier Academy League, Stambolziev was one of four Academy graduates that were offered professional contracts for the club's first-team, however, he declined the offer in favour of joining the under-21 squad of Superleague Greece outfit Panathinaikos in June 2009.
In 2009, Stambolziev was loaned to AO Nea Kavala before returning Panathinaikos to join the club for the 2010–11 Superleague Greece season. In 2011, he joined Greek third division club Proodeftiki and would then sign with Greek second division side Thrasyvoulos, for whom he scored on his debut in a 2–1 away victory against Panserraikos on 14 January 2012. From 2012 to 2014, Stambolziev played over 50 matches in the Cypriot First Division, turning out for Olympiakos Nicosia (2012–2013) and AEK Kouklia (2013–2014), before returning to Greece to join Niki Volos F.C. for the 2014–15 Superleague season.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Honours
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Stambolziev grew up in the suburb Whittlesea of Melbourne's north, where he played in the Youth system of Preston Lions. Stambolziev was overlooked by the club's reserve-team, which saw him transfer to FFV Division 1 club Hume City in 2006, with whom he was able to play at reserve level. He was a member of Australia's European Football Institute, and travelled to England to trial with the U18 youth academies of Bristol City, Reading, Reading and Southend United aged fourteen. Both Bristol City and Southend United showed interest in signing him to their respective academies. Stambolziev returned to England aged sixteen with an Australian representative team which participated in a tour, again he was spotted by Bristol City and was officially offered a youth contract.
In 2007 Stambolziev joined the U18 youth academy of English Football League One side Bristol City. He participated in the 2007–08 Premier Academy League, where Bristol City where in the Academy Group B and finish in fifth position with 38 points. Bristol City's U18 squad also participated in the 2007–08 FA Youth Cup, where Stambolziev would score a double (including a last-gasp winner) in a 2–1 victory against Leeds United U18 on 16 January 2008. The win would send Bristol City into the Round of 16 stage of the competition, where they would face Manchester City U18, as Stambolziev eventually earned the nickname of Bristol City's very own 'Wizard of Oz' by the English media. Stambolziev made several appearances for the Bristol City's reserve-team and trained with the club's first-team towards the end of 2008. Bristol City U18 were eliminated in the Third Round of the 2008–09 FA Youth Cup in a 5–3 loss against Queens Park Rangers U18, in a match which was decided after extra-time. Bristol City U18 would finish in sixth position of the Academy Group B of the 2008–09 Premier Academy League with a total of 33 points, where Stambolziev had netted 9 goals in 23 league appearances. He was one of four academy graduates to eventually be offered a contract with the club's respective first-team, however, Stambolziev had declined the offer in favor of joining Greek club Panathinaikos in June 2009.
In December 2008 it had been reported in Panathinaikos newspapers that Stambolziev was on trial with the club but could not sign until his contract at Bristol City would expire. It was believed by Bristol fans that Stambolziev had travelled to Greece to visit some relatives. In June 2009, Stambolziev officially signed with the Panathinaikos under-21 team, becoming team-mates and room-mates with Giorgos Machlelis (who would go on to play alongside him for Niki Volos in 2014). Stambolziev featured for the club's first-team in a pre-season friendly and then soon after was loaned out to AO Kavala, joining Australians Zeljko Kalac, Craig Moore, Andreas Govas and Apostolos Giannou. Upon his return to Panathinaikos, he joined the club's reserve-team for the 2010–11 Superleague Greece season, however, he would gain no appearances for the Panathinaikos first-team.
He then trialled with Stoke City, participating in a friendly match against Newcastle Town which saw him score the first goal of Stoke's respective 6–0 win on 20 July 2011. Satmbolziev again played for Stoke City in a 1–0 friendly loss to Aldershot Town on 23 July.
On 23 August 2011, Stambolziev trialled for former club Bristol City, where he featured in a 4–0 friendly win against Reading. Ultimately, he was unable to sign a contract with any of the clubs.
Lower leagues in Greece and stints in Cyprus (2011–2014)
AO Proodeftiki Nikea
In September 2011 Stambolziev signed a one-year contract with Gamma Ethniki side AO Proodeftiki. Stambolziev's first league appearance in the 2011-12 Football League 2 season came in a 1-1 home draw against Kalamata on 27 November, Stambolziev had been substituted onto the field in the 60th minute. He debuted in the 2011–12 Greek Football Cup in a 5-0 loss to Asteras Tripolis, where he was substituted onto the field in the 68th minute.
In January 2012 Stamvbolziev was transferred to Greek Football League side Thrasyvoulos for the remainder of the 2011–12 season. Stambolziev debuted for Thrasyvoulos in the 2011–12 Greek Football Cup, in a 3-0 loss against Olympiakos Piraeus on 11 January. His first league appearance came in a 2-1 away win against Panserraikos on 14 January, where Stambolziev had scored Thrasyvoulos first goal after 16 minutes.
AEK Kouklia F.C
Stambolziev signed for AEK Kouklia F.C. for the 2013-14 season and scored in his debut.
On 21 June 2014, it was reported that Stambolziev had joined newly promoted Superleague Greece club Niki Volos, who had finished in first place of the 2013–14 Football League play-offs, for the 2014–15 Superleague Greece. Stambolziev arrived at the club alongside former team-mate Giorgos Machlelis, and also Giorgos Niklitsiotis. It was the first time in three seasons that Stambolziev would return to Greece's respective Superleague, having previously been present at Panathinaikos until the conclusion of the 2010–11 season.
During 2008 and 2009, Stambolziev was part of the Australia U-20 team. He made his debut for the squad at the 2009 Under-20 International Cor Groenewegen Tournament held in the Netherlands, where he scored 2 goals in 7 appearances. The tournament in the Netherlands had been preparatin for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt, where Stambolziev had been overlooked to take part in. Despite attending training camps with the under-20 side in 2008, it had been stated by Stambolziev that the Football Federation Australia's youth team's had neglected him for selection which resulted in his interest of representing Macedonia. It had also been reported that both the Macedonian Football Federation and the Hellenic Football Federation had been chasing Stambolziev. During an interview on The World Game in 2008, Stambolziev stated that he would play for either team (Macedonia or Greece) upon selection . In August 2014 it was revealed that he had chosen to represent Macedonia.
- Under-20 International Cor Groenewegen Tournament: 1