Player Profile: Hristo Stoichkov

Bulgaria, World Cup 1994

Hristo Stoickhov, notoriously known as the dagger embraced the world of football for the last decade along with the likes of Romario, Roberto Baggio and Jurgen Klinsmann. The Bulgarian made an impact to the Bulgaria national side in World Cup 1994 and Johan Cruyff’s “Dream Team” of Barcelona FC which made him European Footballer of the Year 1994.

Background
His humble beginnings began in his hometown Hebros before moving to CSKA Sofia the following year in 1985. There he was involved in the 1985 Bulgarian Cup final and managed to score 38 goals in 30 games which earned him the European Golden Boot. His clinical finishing and constant goal threat caught the eye of Johan Cruyff.

Club

Stoickhov had a successful journey in his career at club level. He is instrumental to both clubs CSKA Sofia and FC Barcelona. But also on other clubs towards the peak of his career at Al-Nassr and Chicago Fire.

The Dream Team
He was part of Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona in those successful era of the early 90s contributing Primera Division for four consecutive years (1991-1994) and ultimately the European Cup (1992) in Wembley after defeating Sampdoria. His unique display made him popular among Barca’s fans.

Hristo Stoickhov, Barcelona “Dream Team”

Honours

CSKA Sofia
1. PBL Bulgarian League – 1987, 1989, 1990
2. Bulgarian Cup – 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989
3. Bulgarian Super Cup – 1989

Barcelona
Domestic
1. LaLiga Spaninsh League – 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998
2. Supercopa de Espana Spanish Super Cup – 1992, 1994, 1996
3. Copa Del Rey Spanish Cup – 1997

European
1. European Cup (Champions League) – 1992
2. European Super Cup – 1992, 1997
3. European Cup Winners’ Cup – 1997

Other Clubs
Hristo Stoickhov spent most of his time at Barca and CSKA Sofia. But later decided for a fresh challenge by joining Al-Nassr in 1998 and D.C United as his last club in 2003. He instrumented on Al-Nassr’s victory in Asian Cup Winners Cup (1998) and later US Open Cup (2001) with Chicago Fire in the U.S.

Al-Nassr
1. Asian Cup Winners Cup – 1998

Chicago Fire
1. U.S Open Cup – 2000

International

Bulgaria
There is no doubt that Hristo Stoickhov is a legend among Bulgarian fans for the last decade and maybe the best of all time. At the 1994 World Cup, he became the joint top goal scorer with six goals thus awarded the World Cup Golden Boot. Furthermore he almost single-handedly carry Bulgaria to the semi-final but only to lost against the brilliance of Roberto Baggio and the Italians.

-4th place World Cup 1994

Bulgaria v Germany, Quarter Final WC94

Coaching
During his coaching career, Hristo Stoickhov had quite a controversial issues with several clubs and country. He started as a forward coach at Barca and then became the national coach for Bulgaria. He then coached for the remaining clubs in Celta Vigo and Mamelodi Sundowns. Overall, he is still in the learning stage of his career as a coach but struggle to sustain his position in any of these clubs.

Individual Honours

Ballon D’ Or 1994

1. European Footballer of the Year (Ballon D’Or) – 1994
2. 1994 World Cup Golden Shoe – 6 goals
3. European Golden Boot – 1989
4. Golden Foot “All Time” Legends – 2007
5. FIFA 100

Overall
His blistering pace with explosive shots and best crosses as a left winger made undeservedly and notoriously known as the “Dagger”. Hristo Stoickhov has indeed earned himself as the star, a legend and one of the best players for the last decade. However, there are times when he has let himself down due to his short-tempered character. Yet, he will remain a legend and who wouldn’t forget his brilliant display at World Cup 1994 in the U.S.


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