Stoichkov in the summer of 2012 as coach of Litex Lovech
|Full name||Hristo Stoichkov Stoichkov|
|Date of birth||8 February 1966|
|Place of birth||Plovdiv, Bulgaria|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|1981–1982||Zavod "Yuri Gagarin"||16||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Hristo Stoichkov Stoichkov (Bulgarian: Христо Стоичков Стоичков), sometimes Stoitchkov; born 8 February 1966 in Plovdiv) is a retired Bulgarian footballer. He is regarded as one of the best footballers of his generation and the greatest Bulgarian footballer of all time. Nicknamed The Dagger (Камата), The Dog (Кучето), and The Modern Left (Модерния ляв). 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 the "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 Boot, the Ballon d'Or, the World Cup Golden Boot 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".
Stoichkov was born in the village of Ysno Pole near Plovdiv. The people of Yasno Pole voted in 1997 to change to the name to Stoichkovo in honor of Hristo.  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. After he was brought back to football, he managed to win the European Golden Boot with CSKA by scoring 38 goals in 30 games. Largely acclaimed as the leader of CSKA at that time--and after 5 very successful years with the club--Stoichkov transferred from CSKA Sofia to Barcelona. There 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, and was Barça's most popular player at the time, having earned a place in the supporters' hearts much like Johan Neeskens and Diego Maradona before. In Barcelona Stoichkov played in tandem with Romário.
In his first season with the club Stoichkov was suspended for two months for stomping on a referee's foot, but he still netted 14 league goals and six more in the Cup Winners' Cup. 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.
In 1994, he was named European Footballer of the Year after leading his national side to the 1994 World Cup semi-finals.
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 to the semi-finals, where 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 after the first place was taken by the eventual winners, 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 very strong France side (the future World Champions); at the same time, in the other match, Spain won 2–1 late on against Romania and so the Bulgarians went out. In that tournament, Stoichkov scored 3 goals in 3 matches, and another goal against Spain was disallowed for offside, though action replays show that he was actually on-side. Stoitchkov was the only player to score from a free kick (against France) in this tournament.
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 in the so-called "Group of Death".
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
Stoichkov played as a left winger 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 among the best crossers in the world at his prime. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
On 29 June 2009, Stoichkov moved to Mamelodi Sundowns, where he replaced Henri Michel. 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.
As of the 2011–12 season he works as an advisor at Russian team FC Rostov.
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.
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.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Bulgaria||League||Bulgarian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1984–85||CSKA Sofia||A PFG||11||0||11||0|
|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|
|Italy||League||Coppa Italia||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|United States||League||Open Cup||League Cup||North America||Total|
|2000||Chicago Fire||Major League Soccer||18||9||3||1||21||10|
|Bulgaria national team|
- As of 8 July 2013.
|Bulgaria||15 July 2004||10 April 2007||Competitive||15||6||6||3||40.00||24||20||+4|
|Celta Vigo||April 2007||8 October 2007||League||16||7||1||8||43.75||18||22||–4|
|Copa del Rey||1||0||0||1||0.00||1||2||–1|
|Mamelodi Sundowns||29 June 2009||16 March 2010||Premier Soccer League||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|
|CSKA Sofia||5 June 2013||8 July 2013||Bulgarian A Professional Football Group||0||0||0||0||—||0||0||0|
- Spanish Super Cup: 1992, 1994, 1996
- European Cup (now called: Champions League): 1991–92, Runner-up 1993–94
- European Super Cup: 1992, 1997
- Copa del Rey: 1996–97
- European Cup Winners' Cup: 1996–97
- Asian Cup Winners Cup: 1998
- U.S. Open Cup: 2000
- Bulgarian League: Top Scorer 1989, 1990
- European Golden Boot: 1990
- Cup Winners' Cup Top Scorer: 1990
- Onze d'Or: 1992
- Ballon d'Or: 1994
- World Cup Golden Shoe: 1994
- IFFHS World's Top Goal Scorer of the Year: 1994
- World Cup All-Star Team: 1994
- Don Balón Award for Best Foreign Player in La Liga: 1994
- UEFA Euro All-Star Team: 1996
- World Soccer's 100 Greatest Players of the 20th Century: 2007
- FIFA 100: 2004
- Mamelodi Sundowns
- Includes Kirin Cup.
- HRISTO STOICHKOV | FCBarcelona.cat. Fcbarcelona.com. Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
- *** Bulgarian Sport : HRISTO STOICHKOV *** – Catalog for Bulgarian sport. Visittobulgaria.com. Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
- Football Legend Stoichkov Backs Bulgaria Ruling Party Presidential Hopeful. Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency (17 September 2011). Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
- "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- First XI: A burning hatred – ESPN FC. Soccernet.espn.go.com (13 October 2011). Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
- The singular genius of the mad boy Hristo. heraldscotland.com (16 April 2007)
- Goff, Steven. "AU Player Settles With Club, MLS, Stoitchkov". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- Goff, Steven (27 February 2007). "Player Hurt in United Scrimmage in '03 Seeks Damages". The Washington Post.
- Petrov steps back from Bulgaria. UEFA (12 October 2006).
- Petrov returns to Bulgaria fold. UEFA (19 March 2007).
- Niemann, Christoph. (30 May 2013) Report: Celta Vigo fires coach Hristo Stoitchkov –. International Herald Tribune. Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
- "Stoichkov named coach of South Africa's Sundowns". ESPN (London). 29 June 2009.
- Hristo Stoitchkov not to renew contract. psl.co.za (17 March 2010).
- "Стоичков е треньор №1 в "А" група, втори е Стоилов, а трети – Петев". topsport.bg (Sofia). 18 May 2013.
- Hristo Stoichkov – Goals in International Matches. Rsssf.com (22 January 2009). Retrieved on 10 June 2013.
- Golden Players take centre stage. UEFA (29 November 2003).
- "Hristo Stoichkov and Katlego Mphela were awarded PSL Coach and Player of the month". 9 October 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- Official website
- Hristo Stoichkov on BarcaMania.com
- Stoichkov Profile, stats and news
- UEFA.com – Golden Player of Bulgaria