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Hristo Stoichkov
Христо Стоичков
Personal information
Full name Hristo Stoichkov Stoichkov
Date of birth February 8, 1966 (1966-02-08) (age 44)
Place of birth    Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Winger, second striker (retired)
Club information
Current club Mamelodi Sundowns FC
Youth career
1976–1982 Maritsa Plovdiv
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
FC Hebros
CSKA Sofia
FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona
CSKA Sofia
Kashiwa Reysol
Chicago Fire
D.C. United
032 0(14)
119 0(81)
151 0(76)
023 00(5)
024 00(7)
004 00(1)
002 00(1)
027 0(12)
051 0(17)
021 00(5)
455 (220)   
National team
1986–1999 Bulgaria 083 0(37)
Teams managed
Celta de Vigo
Mamelodi Sundowns FC

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Hristo Stoichkov Stoichkov alternatively spelt Stoitchkov (Bulgarian: Христо Стоичков Стоичков), a.k.a. The Dagger (Камата) (born 8 February 1966 in Plovdiv) is a football manager and former striker who was a member of the Bulgaria national team that finished fourth at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Apart from his footballing talent, he was notable for his on-pitch temper. He was honoured as European Footballer of the Year in 1994. He was named by Pelé as one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony in 2004. His nickname in Bulgarian means literally "The Dagger".


Playing Style

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 much popularity 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.[1] The student's coach called Stoichkov's challenge "criminal". Ray Hudson, who coached DC 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.[2]

Club career

Stoichkov began his career in his hometown, moving to Hebros (Harmanli) in 1984. The next year he went to CSKA Sofia. There he was involved in a fight during the final of the 1985 Bulgarian Cup which resulted in his 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. He then moved on to FC Barcelona, 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.


FC Barcelona

As part of Johan Cruyff's 'Dream Team', Stoichkov helped Barcelona to one of the the most successful era 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 in the past.

In his first season with the club Stoichkov was suspended for two months for stomping on a referee's foot,[3] but he still netted 14 league goals and six more in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

In 1994 he was named European Footballer of the Year after leading his national side to the 1994 World Cup semifinals.

National team

At the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Stoichkov was awarded the Golden Boot as the joint top goal scorer of the tournament (with Oleg Salenko), with six goals. He led Bulgaria past Germany to the semi finals, where they lost 2-1 to Italy. They subsequently lost the 3rd place play-off to Sweden, 4-0.

Bulgaria finished second in the qualifying group for Euro 96 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 FIFA 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.

Career statistics

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 FC Hebros 11 4
1983-84 21 10
1984-85 CSKA Sofia A PFG 11 0
1985-86 0 0
1986-87 25 6
1987-88 27 14
1988-89 26 23
1989-90 30 38
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 9 4 5 - 8 3 38 17
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
Saudi Arabia League Crown Prince Cup League Cup Asia Total
1997-98 Al-Nasr 5 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 - 1 1 - 12 5
USA League Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup League Cup North America Total
2000 Chicago Fire Major League Soccer 18 9 3 1
2001 17 6 3 2
2002 16 2 0 0
2003 D.C. United 21 5 3 1
Total Bulgaria 155 96 168
Spain 175 83 31 12 - 48 22 254 117[4]
Italy 23 5 2 0 - 5 2 30 7
Saudi Arabia 5 1
Japan 27 12 1 0 1 1 - 29 13
USA 72 22 9 4
Career Total 459 219


As a Player


FC Barcelona


Chicago Fire


In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Bulgaria by the Bulgarian Football Union as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.[5]

As a Manager

Mamelodi Sundowns FC

Coaching career

In the 2003-04 season, Stoichkov started a coaching career, serving as a forwards coach at Barça. After Bulgarian national team coach 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 coach on 15 July.

Stoichkov's coaching career got off to a bad start with him failing to qualify the Bulgarian national team for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He brought his bad temper from his career as a player to the coaching bench. A couple of proven players quit the team due to personal differences with Stoichkov. The most notable scandal was at the 03/09/05 game against Sweden, where he was sent-off for insulting the referee.

The biggest blow to Hristo Stoichkov as a coach of the national team of Bulgaria came on 12/10/2006, when Stiliyan Petrov, the captain of the team, announced he will not play for the team as long as Stoichkov is the coach.[7] Petrov is the third player and the second captain in two years to leave the team because of differences with Stoichkov. However, on 17/03/2007 Stiliyan Petrov announced that he 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.[8]

On April 10, 2007, the Bulgarian Football Union announced they had accepted the resignation of Hristo Stoichkov from the post of national coach. That was as a result of the poor performance of the team at the current Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, followed by widely spread criticism and debate over the qualities of the coach. 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 de Vigo, for which he was sacked following the team's slump that took them to the lower reaches of the Spanish Second Division. On October 8, 2007 he was replaced by ex-Real Madrid coach Juan Ramón López Caro.On March 12, 2009, Hristo Stoichkov visited the Manchester City training ground after requesting a visit.[9]

On 14 May 2009, Iranian club Abu Moslem reported the signing of Stoichkov as coach[10]. However Stoichkov then changed his mind due to the tense political situation in Iran, instead opting to move to Mamelodi Sundowns, where he replaced Henri Michel on 29 June 2009[11].


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Bulgaria Lyuboslav Penev
Bulgarian Footballer of the Year
1989 – 1992
Succeeded by
Bulgaria Emil Kostadinov
Preceded by
Romania Dorin Mateuţ
European Golden Boot
alongside Mexico Hugo Sánchez

1989 – 1990
Succeeded by
Yugoslavia Darko Pancev
Preceded by
Bulgaria Emil Kostadinov
Bulgarian Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
Bulgaria Krasimir Balakov
Preceded by
Italy Roberto Baggio
European Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
Liberia George Weah
Preceded by
Italy Salvatore Schillaci
FIFA World Cup Golden Shoe
Shared with:
Russia Oleg Salenko
Succeeded by
Croatia Davor Šuker
Preceded by
Argentina Diego Maradona
FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball
Succeeded by
France Lilian Thuram
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Trifon Ivanov
Bulgaria Captain
Succeeded by
Krassimir Balakov
Preceded by
Bulgaria Plamen Markov
Bulgaria national football team manager
2004 – 2007
Succeeded by
Bulgaria Stanimir Stoilov

Simple English

Hristo Stoichkov
Personal information
Full name Hristo Stoichkov
Date of birth 8 February 1966 (1966-02-08) (age 45)
Place of birth    Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Striker (retired)
Senior clubs
Years Club
Hebros Harmanli
CSKA Sofia
CSKA Sofia
Kashiwa Reysol
Chicago Fire
DC United
National team
1986-1999 Bulgaria
Teams managed
Celta Vigo

Hristo Stoichkov (born 8 February 1966) is a former Bulgarian football player. He has played for Bulgaria national team.

Club career statistics

Club Performance League CupLeague CupContinentalTotal
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
BulgariaLeague Bulgarian Cup League Cup EuropeTotal
1982/83Hebros Harmanli114114
1984/85CSKA SofiaA PFG110110
SpainLeague Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga EuropeTotal
1990/91BarcelonaLa Liga241462-853821
ItalyLeague Coppa Italia League Cup EuropeTotal
1995/96ParmaSerie A23520-52307
SpainLeague Copa del Rey Copa de la Liga EuropeTotal
1996/97BarcelonaLa Liga22761-60348
BulgariaLeague Bulgarian Cup League Cup EuropeTotal
1997/98CSKA SofiaA PFG4141
Saudi ArabiaLeague Crown Prince Cup League Cup AsiaTotal
JapanLeague Emperor's Cup J. League Cup AsiaTotal
1998Kashiwa ReysolJ. League 11681000-178
United StatesLeague Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup League Cup North AmericaTotal
2000Chicago FireMajor League Soccer189312110
2003DC UnitedMajor League Soccer21531246
CountryBulgaria 1559615596
Spain 177833112-4822256117
Italy 23520-52307
Saudi Arabia 5151
Japan 27121011-2913
United States 7222948126
Total 4592194316115324556260

International career statistics


Bulgaria national team



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