Hristo Stoichkov is undoubtedly the greatest Bulgarian footballer ever. Stoichkov won the European footballer of the year award in 1994. Stoichkov was instrumental in the fourth place finish of Bulgaria, during 1994 world cup. Stoichkov won the golden boot at 1994 world cup, for being the top goal scorer of the tournament. He was quite aggressive and passionate while on the football pitch. Stoichkov was quite quick while moving forward .He had great dribbling, free kick taking skills.
Stoichkov was born on 8th February 1966, at Plovdiv in Bulgaria. Stoichkov started his career with hometown club Maritza in 1976. Then he played for Juri Gagarin before joining Hebros Harmanli during 1984 season. He moved to CSKA Sofia next year. He won Bulgarian league as well as Bulgarian cup with CSKA .He got ban for life following an altercation during cup final, in 1985. However, he got chance to play again as Bulgarian football association withdrew their ban. He won the Bulgarian league and Bulgarian cup in 1987 with CSKA. During that 1988/1989 season, he helped CSKA to reach European cup winners’ cup semi-final in which they lost out to Barcelona. In that season, he won Bulgarian league with CSKA. He was the top scorer with 23 goals. He had a remarkable 1989/1990 season as he won European golden boot with 38 goals. He won Bulgarian super cup as well as Bulgarian league that season with CSKA. After the expiry of his contract, he joined Barcelona in 1990.
Barca gave him a five-year contract worth good sum. However, his Barcelona career had a bad start as he got six-month ban for stomping the referee during a mach. His stint with Barcelona was during a glorious era. He won four consecutive Spanish la liga titles with Barcelona from 1991-1994.He also won la liga in 1998 with Barcelona. He won the European cup as well as European super cup in 1992.He won UEFA cup winners cup Copa del Rey, as well as European super cup in 1997.He won Spanish super cup during 1992, 1993, 1995, and 1996.He played 175 matches for Barcelona in two stints and scored 84 goals.
He played for Parma during 1995/1996 season. He played 23 matches and scored seven goals for them. He rejoined Barcelona after one season. He left Barcelona during 1998 to join his former club CSKA Sofia.He later joined, Al-Nassr .He won Asian cup winners cup with Al-Nassr. He later played for Kashiwa Reysol in Japan. He scored 12 goals for them in 27 matches. He played for Chicago Fire in MLS during 2000-2002 period. He won US Open cup in 2000 with Chicago fire. He ended his club career with D.C. United in 2003 after scoring five goals for them in 21 matches.
Stoichkov was a major player for Bulgarian National team. He scored six goals to take Bulgaria to the world cup semi-finals in 1994.He was the joint top scorer during that world cup. He was the European footballer of the year for 1994.He helped Bulgaria to qualify for the Euro 1996.Stoichkov scored three goals from three matches during the Euro 1996. Bulgaria went out of the tournament in-group stages itself. In 1998 world cup, Bulgaria was not able to reproduce their magic and they did not qualify for the knockout stages. Stoichkov scored one goal in that world cup. He scored 37 goals for Bulgaria in 83 matches. He quit international football in 1999.
After retiring from playing career, Stoichkov became a manager. He worked as strikers coach for Barcelona. He became Bulgarian national team’s manager in 2004.He left the job in 2007after Bulgaria’s performances was below par. He worked with Celta Vigo for a while. Currently he is with Mamelodi Sundowns. Volatile Stoichkov is certainly one of the top football team players that caught the imagination of masses.