||8 Feb 1966
1994 - 6 goals
1994 and 1998
One of Europe’s
best players over the last decade, Hristo Stoitchkov, started his professional career in
CSKA Sofia. He soon caught the eyes of many scouts because of his talent, but also for his
temperament which caused him some problems over the years. Hristo was a player who was
difficult to mark because of his pace and quick movements and most defenders were left behind
when he had his sight on goal. Having scored 38 goals in his last season with CSKA, a total
which won him the Golden Boot as topscorer in Europe, Stoitchkov then left Bulgaria for
bigger challenges in Barcelona in the summer of 1990.
He lived up to his reputation both as a lethal striker and
trouble-maker in his first season at the Nou Camp. He was suspended for weeks having
stamped on a referee’s foot on purpose, but he delivered the goods when he was on the
field. He had many successful seasons in Barcelona which saw him win four straight league
championships and a European Cup.
He took part in his first big tournament for Bulgaria in the
1994 World Cup in USA. Bulgaria reached the semifinals against all odds and Stoitchkov
was the key to their success. He proved on soccer’s biggest scene that he was one of the
world’s best players scoring 6 goals and shared the topscorer title with Russian Salenko. He
scored a great goal against Mexico in the second round and a well executed free-kick
against Germany in the quarterfinal when Bulgaria came from behind to knock-out the
defending champions. Stoitchkov won at the end of the year the European Player of the
Year award with a record winning margin.
He later had a short spell with Parma before returning to
Barcelona for another couple of years although not with as much success as in his first
period. At the age of 32, he was included in the Bulgarian squad for the World Cup in
France, but neither he or the team could produce the form of four years earlier. Stoitchkov
retired in 1999.
| 1994 | 1998
Info on how
the World Cup was founded and about the trophy as well.
on every match in every tournament.
Interesting columns about the past, present and future of the World Cup.
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