Sun 22 August 2021 | 13:30

Top facts about Hristo Stoichkov, The Dagger

Hristo Stoichkov was one of the stars of Johan Cruyff's Dream Team and one of the fans most popular players of the 1990s, both for his talent and extraordinary fighting spirit. Read on to find out more facts about Hristo Stoichkov, the legendary Bulgarian player.

Stoichkov, Hristo Stoichkov (born 8 February 1966) is a Bulgarian retired soccer player and coach. He is serving as a pundit for TUDN right now. He is generally recognized as the greatest Bulgarian player of all time and is acknowledged as one of the finest performers of his generation.

Hristo Stoichkov age

is 55. Here you can read about the most important facts about the Bulgarian former professional footballer.

Stoichkov played six years with CSKA Sofia, when he was Europe's best goalscorer in 1990, winning the European Golden Shoe. He signed Barcelona in 1990, earning the moniker "El Pistolero" ("The Gunslinger") and became a member of Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team," which won four straight La Liga championships and the 1992 European Cup.

An important fact about Hristo Stoichkov is that he established a productive striking combination with Romário throughout his tenure at the club. Cruyff was crucial in getting him to Barcelona, where he soon established himself as one of the world's most productive strikers.

Stoichkov was a part of the Bulgarian national team that finished fourth in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, scoring six goals and winning the World Cup Golden Boot. After



Roberto Baggio

, he was named the third best player of the World Cup and won the World Cup Bronze Ball.

He was known for his on-field fury in addition to his footballing ability. He was also known as The Dagger throughout his playing career. He was considered one of the best players in the world for his time, and is one of three Barcelona players to have won the European Cup (1992), the Golden Boot (1990) and the Ballon d’Or (1995) along with Leo Messi and Luis Suárez.

Top facts about Hristo Stoichkov:

The first

fact about Hristo Stoichkov

is that in 1992 and 1994, he was a finalist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, and in 1994, he won the Ballon d'Or.


nominated Stoichkov to the FIFA 100 list of the world's best living players in 2004.

Hristo Stoichkov early life

Hristo Stoichkov was born on February 8, 1966, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Hristo was born with a soccer ball, according to his mother, Penka Stoichkova.

Speaking about

Hristo Stoichkov parents

, it is worth mentioning that his father, Stoitchko Stoitchkov, was the goalie for the local club, and he used to be a ballboy at his father's matches when he was younger. He began playing for his first team, Hebros, when he was 12 years old, and his skill was recognized by scouts from Bulgaria's biggest club, CSKA.

Speaking about

Hristo Stoichkov childhood

, it should be mentioned that he was a ballboy for Maritza Plovdiv, his local club, until 1977, when he started playing for them. One of Stoichkov's coaches told him he had no future in soccer, but another, Atanas Uzunov, saw his potential and placed him on a factory-sponsored regional championship squad.

Hristo Stoichkov personal life

Hristo Stoichkov is multilingual, speaking Bulgarian, Russian, Polish, English, Spanish, and Italian fluently. In Barcelona and Chicago, he runs children's soccer schools. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stalone, Sharon Stone, and Julia Roberts are among his favorite actors. Marianna is his wife, and the couple has two children, Christina and Michaela.

Stoichkov is a character in EA Sports' FIFA video game franchise, appearing in FIFA 15 Ultimate Team Legends. "Hristo Stoichkov: The Story," his authorized biography, was released in 2018.

Hristo Stoichkov professional career

After spending four years in the youth categories of his hometown club Maritsa Plovdiv, Stoichkov moved to Hebros Harmanli. He joined CSKA Sofia, where he would spend the next five seasons. Later, he accepted Johan Cruyff's offer and moved to Barcelona.

At the age of 29, Stoichkov left Barcelona and after a short stint in Parma and a return to


, he went on to play for Al-Nassr, Kashiwa Reysol, Chicago Fire, and D.C. United. Not long after, he finished his playing career and stepped into managerial career, serving as head coach of


from 2004 to 2007.

Hristo Stoichkov club career

Stoichkov was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Stoichkov started his football career at the age of 11 with Maritsa Plovdiv, his local club. He went to Hebros Harmanli in 1982 and scored 14 goals in Bulgarian football's third tier.

CSKA Sofia

Stoichkov signed CSKA Sofia in early 1985. Stoichkov (who subsequently became known for his quick temper) was engaged in a brawl at the 1985 Bulgarian Cup Final, which ended in an initial lifetime punishment, which was eventually reduced to a year sentence.

A notable fact about Hristo Stoichkov is that on April 30, 1986, he made his CSKA return in a 3–1 away victory against Sliven in a game of the Soviet Army Cup. Stoichkov scored the first goal in CSKA's 2–0 victory versus Lokomotiv Sofia in the competition final on May 21.

During 1986–87, Stoichkov continued to improve, becoming a fixture on the left side of CSKA's attack. At the conclusion of the season, Stoichkov received his first A Group championship winner's medal. That season, he scored six goals in the league.

Stoichkov won the European Golden Shoe with CSKA throughout the 1989–90 A Group campaign, netting 38 goals in 30 games.


Stoichkov moved to Barcelona after 5 seasons with CSKA. Stoichkov was banned for 2 months in his debut year with the team for stamping on a referee's foot, but he still managed to score 14 league goals and six more in the European Cup Winners' Cup.

An important fact about Hristo Stoichkov is that between 1991 and 1994, he was a member of Coach

Johan Cruyff

's "Dream Team," and he led Barcelona to one of their most prosperous periods, capturing La Liga 4 years in a row and the European Cup after beating Sampdoria in 1992. During his time at Barcelona, he became a fan favorite and often played in offense with Romário.

Stoichkov was also renowned for ensuring sure Romario showed up for training on time, despite the latter's penchant for late-night fiestas. Stoichkov was elected FIFA World Player of the Year runner-up twice, in 1992 and 1994, and he won the Ballon d'Or in 1994 after guiding his country to the World Cup semi-finals.

Parma, return to Barca and a brief presence

Stoichkov then had a quick moment in Italy with


, where he scored seven goals, before returning to FC Barcelona to play until early 1998. In the spring of 1998, he had a second spell at CSKA Sofia.

Stoichkov adopted a 2 deal with Saudi Arabian side


in April 1998, and helped them capture the Asian Cup Winners' Cup. He got a penalty and assisted the winning goal in the semi-final against Kopetdag, and he netted the lone goal in the final versus Suwon Bluewings in the 12th minute.

Hristo was paid $200,000 for the two games. He then moved to Japan to compete for Kashiwa Reysol before ending his career in the United States with the Chicago Fire and D.C. United, with the former earning the US Open Cup (and scoring the game's inaugural goal).

Hristo Stoichkov international career

On September 23, 1987, Stoichkov made his Bulgarian national team debut against Belgium in a UEFA Euro 1988 qualification match. In his fourth outing, a 3–2 friendly defeat over Qatar in Doha, he scored his first international goal.

A notable fact about Hristo Stoichkov is that he scored five goals during Bulgaria's qualifying for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, helping the country qualify for its first major event since the 1986 World Cup. Stoichkov was awarded the World Cup Golden Boot as the tournament's equal best goal scorer (with Oleg Salenko) with six goals, as well as the Bronze Ball trophy, during the tournament finale.

He led Bulgaria to a 2–1 quarter-final victory against Germany, which was a shock given that Germany was the reigning champion at the time. Bulgaria was defeated 2–1 by Italy in the semi-finals. They were then defeated 4–0 by Sweden in the third-place play-off.

Bulgaria came in second place in the Euro 1996 qualification group, behind


. During the qualifications, Stoichkov scored 10 goals for Bulgaria, which finished as one of the top six runners-up. Bulgaria was 2–0 behind at halftime in the opening match against Germany in Sofia.

Stoichkov tied the game with two penalty goals, and Emil Kostadinov added another goal for a 3–2 victory. Bulgaria was defeated 3–1 in the second match in Germany.

Bulgaria was eliminated from the finals after losing 3–1 to a strong France team in the deciding group match; Spain defeated


2–1 in the other match, and the Bulgarians were eliminated. Stoichkov scored three goals in three games throughout the competition.

A notable fact about Hristo Stoichkov is that he was also a member of the 1998 World Cup team that was ousted in the first round. Bulgaria was not as powerful as in previous years, collecting just one point in a 0–0 draw with Paraguay and scoring only one goal in a 6–1 loss to Spain via Kostadinov. Stoichkov retired from international play in 1999, having scored 37 goals in 83 games.

Stoichkov assisted Georgi Markov with the equalizer goal from a free kick goal during the Euro 2000 Qualification match against England, which finished 1-1. In the same game, he was replaced by Martin Petrov, who was making his Bulgarian debut.

Stoichkov was Bulgaria's sole goal scorer in the 1996 UEFA Euro Tournament with three goals, while Petrov was the only goal scorer in the 2004 UEFA Euro Tournament in a 2-1 defeat to Italy.

After the game, Bulgaria was unable to qualify for the Euro 2000 tournament in Belgium and the Netherlands, since they need a victory to have a chance of qualifying.

Hristo Stoichkov coaching career

Stoichkov began his managerial career as a forwards coach with Barcelona in the 2003–04 season. Following Plamen Markov's resignation following Bulgaria's first-round elimination from Euro 2004, the Bulgarian Football Union appointed him as the next national team manager on July 15.

Stoichkov's managerial career got off to a shaky start as he failed to qualify Bulgaria for the 2006 World Cup. He carried his nasty attitude to the bench from his playing days.

Due to personal disagreements with Stoichkov, a handful of established players left the squad. The most infamous incident occurred on September 5, 2005, when he was sent off for insulting the referee during a match against Sweden.

An important

fact about Hristo Stoichkov

is that the greatest blow to him as a coach of the Bulgarian national team occurred on October 12, 2006, when the squad's captain, Stiliyan Petrov, declared that he would not play for Bulgaria as long as Stoichkov remained in charge.

Petrov was the third member and second captain to quit the club in two years due to disagreements with Stoichkov. Petrov, on the other hand, stated on March 17, 2007, that he had had a private discussion with Stoichkov in which they were able to iron out their disagreements. Petrov would return to the team as a consequence.

The Bulgarian Football Union stated on April 10, 2007, that Stoichkov's resignation from the national squad had been accepted. This came as a consequence of the team's poor performance in the current Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, which was followed by widespread criticism and discussion over the manager's abilities.

The 0–0 draw with Albania at home put the strain on Stoichkov (despite the fact that the Bulgarians generally controlled the game and hit the post twice). He had a brief unsuccessful spell as manager of

Celta Vigo

, for which he was fired after the team's relegation to the Spanish Second Division's bottom tier. On October 8, 2007, he was replaced by Juan Ramón López Caro, an ex-Real Madrid manager.

Stoichkov paid a visit to Manchester City's training facility on March 12, 2009, after requesting one. Stoichkov joined Mamelodi Sundowns on June 29, 2009, to replace Henri Michel.

He left Mamelodi Sundowns on March 16, 2010, and former South Africa national team manager Trott Moloto was appointed caretaker until a full-time successor could be recruited.

A notable fact about Hristo Stoichkov is that he was offered the job of head coach of the Vietnam national team by the Vietnam Football Federation in 2011, but he refused. He served as an adviser for Russian team Rostov in the 2011–12 season.

Stoichkov took over as manager of Bulgarian club Litex Lovech in January 2012, succeeding Lyuboslav Penev, who resigned to take over as manager of the Bulgarian national team. Stoichkov was named the A PFG manager of the season in May 2013 after a vote of the Bulgarian league's professional players.

He was appointed manager of Bulgarian superpower – and previous club – CSKA Sofia in June 2013, but resigned a month later after losing confidence in the struggling team.

Hristo Stoichkov style of play

Stoichkov was a fast, inventive, combative, and productive left-footed striker who was mostly used as a goalscorer but could also operate in a creative position as a midfield player thanks to his capacity to aid teammates.

An important fact about Hristo Stoichkov is that during his career, he was used as a support attacker, establishing a striking combination with Romário at Barcelona, and he also appeared as a right winger on occasions, but he was as adept of operating on the left or through the center.

He used to play as a left full-back in his early years. Stoichkov was a strong, physically imposing, and technically talented player who was renowned for his rapid acceleration and fast dribbling, as well as his proclivity for taking unexpected, powerful shots on goal.

Stoichkov was the leading goal scorer at the 1994 World Cup, and he was also a great free-kick and penalty taker, as well as a great crosser and distributor of the ball. In 2006, manager Dimitar Dimitrov referred to Stoichkov as "one of the best players of all time" with "a winning attitude."

He was chastised for his work rate at times, and he earned notoriety on the field for his belligerent demeanor; he was often seen fighting with the referee or his opponents.

After Bulgaria's last group stage play against France in 1996, French defender

Marcel Desailly

accused him of making derogatory comments regarding Desailly's race.

In 2006, he was sued by a former American University undergraduate student whose leg he fractured in a friendly match for D.C. United in 2003 with a brutal tackle. In 2007, the lawsuit was resolved out of court for an unknown sum.

Stoichkov's challenge was deemed "criminal" by the student's coach. It was a "rash tackle," according to Ray Hudson, the coach of D.C. United, where Stoichkov was playing at the time. Stoichkov was banned for two games and fined $2,000 by Major League Soccer (MLS) after an inquiry.

Hristo Stoichkov characteristics

Let's be honest: Hristo seems to be a difficult-to-love character with severe anger control problems. Marcel Desailly also accused him of racial insults in 1996. He now seems to be a mafia leader or hit guy in his mid-50s. Scary. But that's also what makes him so appealing.

Today, everything and everyone is imprisoned by excellent public relations and the need to be a non-offensive brand. Nobody cared about any of it in Hristo's day, so with 2021 eyes on him, the way he was, the way he acted, the fights he chose and fought appear startling in a way that they didn't at the time.

The fact that this rage was contained inside a guy of such football ability, ability that has seldom been equaled or exceeded, presents us with one of European football's great mysteries.

He was the epitome of rock n roll football, reckless and spectacular. What was he going to do next? He might beat four defenders and back heel it into the goal, or he could break the neck of some unfortunate sod.

It's also worth noting that his edginess earned him a huge fan favorite throughout the course of his career. While it is true that his anger did not usually flare up, everyone was aware that it might. That is aggression's real power: the threat as well as the fact. Hristo, we always assumed, would wind up stripped to the waist and hitting the referee in the face.

He possessed the precise control and tight turn of a shorter, nippier player, but he combined it with power, strength, and aggressiveness as a player. Despite being just 5′ 10′′ tall, he seemed to be made of wrought iron and concrete. It was a fantastic combination.

Football needs wicked guys, dark angels, and cold-blooded players. With his dark-hooded, corvid eyes, prominent cheekbones, and permanent scowl, Hristo suited the description well. He also seemed to be older than his years, even though he was only in his twenties, giving him the appearance of a tormented artist.

An important

fact about Hristo Stoichkov

is that he had a skill that rivaled his ego, which is saying a lot for a player who likened himself to Jesus. While Stoichkov's career statistics support his self-assurance, some of the analogies he drew need a particular type of egomaniac.

His favorite quote is, “There are only two Christs in the world. One is a Barcelona player, while the other is in heaven.”

Stoichkov was sent off along with four players in the 1985 Bulgarian Cup Final when a fight erupted between rivals CSKA Sofia and Levski Sofia, with the referee being attacked and police intervening.

Following the incident, the Bulgarian Communist Party's Central Committee issued lifelong bans to five players, including Stoichkov. Both teams were dissolved as well. On appeal, Stoichkov's sentence was lowered, but it would be the first of many flashpoints.

With five minutes remaining in the Super Cup opening leg involving Barcelona and Real Madrid in December 1990, Stoichkov was tackled by Real defender Chendo. Cruyff rushes off the bench to remonstrate as referee Urzar Azpitarte waves play on, earning a red card.

That's little in comparison to Stoichkov's response. He rushed over to Azpitarte and stomped on his foot, inflicting pain on the referee.

Stoichkov moved to the United States towards the conclusion of his career to play for DC United in Washington. It was his swan song at the age of 37, but it all went wrong in a game versus American University in 2003.

Stoichkov protested with the linesman in the 10th minute when the official declined to call for offside as AU scored. Stoichkov vented his emotions on 18-year-old Freddy Llerena, scything him down with a studs-up tackle that resulted in the midfielder's right leg being broken.

He received a red card, a $2000 fine, and a two-match suspension. The match was called off when AU coach Todd West described the challenge as "criminal."

Hristo Stoichkov book

Football icon Hristo Stoichkov formally launched his biographical book in Sofia at in 2018. "Hristo Stoichkov: The Story" is the title of the book, which was co-written with journalist Vladimir Pamukov.

The book, according to Stoichkov and Pamukov, did not gloss over specifics and realities regarding Bulgaria's most successful footballer's career, but rather uncovered numerous previously unknown facts.

"I've made many errors, which are detailed in the book. I haven't left anything out, good or bad. If someone begins to change at the age of 53, it indicates they have accomplished nothing. I'm not going to change, "stated the winner of the Golden Shoe and Golden Ball awards in 1990 and 1994. There are both happy and interesting situations recounted in the book, as well as tough and tragic ones.

"It was a tremendous joy for me to reminisce with Stoichkov about the events of the past," Vladimir Pamukov told the visitors. "Working with Stoichkov is simple. All of the events in the book are described exactly as they occurred, including any errors. Our aim was to teach every Bulgarian kid that he could be the best in the world."

Urizar Azpitarte, an international football referee, traveled to Sofia specifically for the book's presentation. "It was difficult to be a judge while Hristo Stoichkov was playing," Azpitarte joked, before telling some fascinating tales about the atmosphere at Camp Nou and the fiery personalities of Stoichkov and Johan Cruyff.

Tensions between Barcelona and

Real Madrid

escalated in 1990 during a match, when Stoichkov trod on Azpitarte's foot. The guy was given a red card and was therefore barred from playing football for six months, which was a nightmare for him.

Stoichkov and Azpitarte became friends afterwards, and the referee now acknowledges that he was fortunate to have the opportunity to come to know the Bulgarian not just as a fiery player, but also as a good-hearted and kind guy.

During the marketing of Stoichkov's biography, Azpitarte surprised him by handing him a yellow and a red card on the occasion of the Basque football referee collegium's 100th anniversary. In exchange, the famous Bulgarian player handed Azpitarte the football shoes he wore 28 years ago when he stomped on the referee's foot.

Three Bulgarian presidents also attended the book launch. Hristo Stoichkov was personally praised by Petar Stoyanov, Georgi Parvanov, and Rosen Plevneliev, who thanked him for bringing pleasure to the Bulgarian people. Among the visitors were several Bulgarian sports icons and friends of Stoichkov, and hundreds of admirers received autographs from the star.

Hristo Stoichkov social media


Hristo Stoichkov social media

, it should be mentioned that he has an Instagram page (


) with 143k followers. In the page we can see various pictures of him with the fans and his family.

He also has a Twitter account (


) with 17.3k followers. He rarely posts new stuff on his Twitter page.

Hristo Stoichkov body measurements

Speaking about

Hristo Stoichkov body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the Bulgarian legend is 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) and weighs 161 lbs (73 kg).

Hristo Stoichkov net worth and salary

Hristo Stoichkov net worth

is projected to be about $5 million by 2021. His football career, first as a player and subsequently as a manager, is a major source of revenue for him.

Hristo Stoichkov’s main source of salary right now comes from his job as a football commentator for TUDN.

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source: SportMob

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