Hristo Stoichkov

Hristo Stoichkov, better known as "Itso" among his friends, was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on 8th February 1966. He grew up being influenced by his father who often participated as a goalkeeper in the local team of Maritsa, Plovdiv. Though Stoichkov began with a slow start, the young talent started playing for the team by the age of 10. In 1984, Stoichkov started to play for the team of Hebar Harmanli. Hristo Stoichkov’s passion and competitive drive have transformed him to be one of the top football players of the 20th Century. His amazing talent, sizzling temper and willpower to succeed have helped him in his journey of professional triumph.   

His genius play with Hebar received instant recognition. In 1985 the Manager of CSKA noticed his skills and decided to select him to play for CSKA Sofia under the management of coach Dimitar Penev. Penev known for developing young talents, helped to nurture Stoichkov’s skills. From 1986-1989, he played for CSKA and became a football hero. In his first season with CSKA, he helped the team to win the Bulgarian cup and the Championship. Soon he became a known figure in Bulgarian football with his unique experience and on-field achievements. He became the top goal scorer in the 1989 season by scoring 23 goals. He also won the Golden Boot for Top Goal Scorer in Europe and Bulgaria.

Though his team was defeated by Barcelona in the semi-finals, Stoichkov's excellent footwork caught the attention of Johan Cruyff, who was the coach of Barcelona. He signed Stoichkov to play for Barcelona for a deal worth $4.5 million. From 1990-1994, while playing for Barcelona he scored some 100 goals. He led the team to win the Spanish Primera Division Championship four years in a row and won the Champion's League in 1992. With his gripping power, precision and a temper that annoyed his opponents, Stoichkov became an idol for million supporters. He also led the Bulgarian National team to the World Cup in 1994. The team had an extremely successful tournament and finished third place.

In 1994, Parma offered him $15 million to play for their team. Though he played for Parma for a year, he returned back to Barcelona in 1997. On his return to Barcelona, he won the Spanish Super Cup, the Spanish Championship, the European Cup and the Spanish King's Cup. The same year, Barcelona loaned Stoichkov to Al-Nasr, Saudi Arabia where he won the Asian Cup Winners Cup..

Stoichkov continued his career in the US where he joined the MLS. In 2000, he was allocated by MLS to Chicago fire and helped the team to win the MLS Cup Final. The year 2000, proved to be a good year for him as he was named among MLS's Best 11 and was one of the finalists for the MLS Goal of the Year award.

Stoichkov is the greatest player for Bulgarian National team. He scored six goals to take Bulgaria to the world cup semi-finals in 1994. Stoichkov named as the European footballer of the year for 1994. Totally, he scored 37 goals for Bulgaria in 83 matches. He quit from international football in 1999.

Soon after his retirement, Stoichkov tried his luck as a coach, initially with the Bulgarian national team. Failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, he resigned and moved back to Spain. He was hired as a head coach for Celta Vigo. In the same season, his club was relegated from Primera Division. And then he joined with a South African's club, Mamelodi Sundowns. [source : Stoitchkov]

Stoichkov Pictures and Wallpapers

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