Hristo Stoichkov Biography

Wed 13 October 2021 | 11:30

Sorry Dimitar Berbatov, but he is simply the best player in the history of Bulgarian football. In this article, we will take a look at Hristo Stoichkov biography.

Hristo Stoichkov, born 8 February 1966 in Plovdiv, is a Bulgarian former football player. He is currently working as a professional coach. He was awarded the Ballon d'Or in 1994.

Regarded as the most famous and strongest Bulgarian footballer of all time, he spent thirteen years with the Bulgarian national team (which he later coached for three years) and enjoyed great success with Barcelona. In 2004 he was listed by Pelé in the FIFA 100, the special international ranking of the greatest footballers of all time.

In his Barcelona days, he was known by the nickname Ayatollah, because of his gesture of raising his arms to the sky. Other than on rare occasions, he always wore the number 8 during his career, with both clubs and the Bulgarian national team.

He made his mark with three different teams: CSKA Sofia in the 1980s and, most notably, the Barcelona Dream Team in the early 1990s and the Bulgarian national team at the 1994 World Cup. His biggest characteristics were his unbalancing left leg and off-balance demeanour.

Stoichkov made a name for himself as the greatest player in Bulgarian football, guiding a discredited country to a fourth-place finish at the 1994 World Cup, in which he was one of the top scorers. The Bulgarian maestro, who had played in five World Cups and failed to win a single match, provided ample proof of his strong, unassuming personality: "There is a Christ up there and a Christ down here. Both perform miracles", alluding to his name Hristo, the Bulgarian version of Christ.

All You Need to Know About Hristo Stoichkov Biography

After retiring, he worked as a coach, among others for the Bulgarian national team. Stoichkov was famous and notorious for his hot temper, which resulted in many fights with fellow players and opponents, as well as red cards and suspensions.

Hristo Stoichkov Information

Now that we know the Bulgarian coach much better, in this section of

Hristo Stoichkov biography

we will share more general information about him such as

Hristo Stoichkov nationality

to let you know him even better.

Hristo Stoichkov Bio

  • Full Name: Hristo Stoichkov Stoichkov

  • Nickname: Ayatollah

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Hristo Stoichkov Physical Stats

  • Weight: 75 Kg

  • Height: 1.78 m

  • Eye Color: Brown

  • Hair Color: Grey

Hristo Stoichkov Football Information

  • Position: Striker

  • Jersey Number: 8

  • Professional Debut: 1982

Hristo Stoichkov Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 8 February 1966

  • Birth Place: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

  • Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

  • Nationality: Bulgarian

Now stay tuned to this section of

Hristo Stoichkov biography

as we want to share some info about

Hristo Stoichkov childhood


Hristo Stoichkov Early Life

Stoitchkov launched his career with CSKA Sofia. As an attacking or attacking midfielder on the left-wing, his superior technique allowed him to outsmart opposing defenders. During his last season in Sofia in 1990, he managed to score 38 goals and won the Golden Shoe award for the best European striker.

All of Europe's top clubs wanted him, and it was with the prestigious

FC Barcelona

(where he played 254 matches and scored 117 goals) that the Bulgarian landed in the summer of 1990. Under the command of Johan Cruyff, with what for many experts still regard as one of the best teams in history, Stoitchkov flourished completely.

Barcelona dominated the Spanish Liga (4 consecutive titles) and continental football (victory in the Champions League in 1992). At the peak of his career with the great Catalan club, Stoitchkov nevertheless developed a reputation as a bad boy on the pitch. He received a number of bookings and suspensions for his rough play and insults. In fact, these unsporting attitudes likely cost him the 1992 Ballon d'Or, even though he was widely tipped to win it.

Stoitchkov left Barcelona in 1995 to join Italian side


, considered one of Europe's top teams at the time. However, the Bulgarian, who was frequently the target of the ruthless media, was never able to fully establish himself in

Serie A

. He returned to Barcelona after one season, his beloved club, but had to make do with a place on the bench.

In 1997, he helped Barcelona win the European Cup Winners' Cup, in which they defeated

Paris Saint-Germain

of France in the final. In total, he won 13 major trophies during his time at Barcelona, the last being the fifth Spanish league championship, which was not secured until 1998 after Stoichkov had left the club, although he still officially shared in it through four league appearances that season.

Later career

After Stoichkov began to lose his place in the team to younger players in the 1997-98 season, he made the decision to leave the club and spent the following season with his old club in his homeland CSKA Sofia and Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, respectively, which he helped to victory in the Asian Continental Cup Winners' Cup.

Like so many other ageing European stars, Stoichkov had the opportunity of a financially lucrative spell in Japanese football, and in the 1998-99 season he played 27 matches and scored 12 goals for club

Kashiwa Reysol

from the city of Kashiwa. But he was unable to help the club to any titles, and in 2000 he headed for the United States instead.

His stay in the newly-formed MLS was the last of Stoichkov's career, which lasted until 2003, through a two-year stint with the

Chicago Fire

, and a one-year spell with capital club

D.C. United

of Washington. Stoichkov officially announced the end of his career in December 2003. Now stay tuned to this section of Hristo Stoichkov biography as we want to share some info about his national team career.

Bulgarian National Team

He debuted in the Bulgarian Under-21 national team in 1986 and played there until 1987, recording 17 appearances and 8 goals. He started in the senior national team on 23 September 1987, in a European Championship qualifying match against


in 1988.

He scored his first goal for the national team in his fourth appearance, during the friendly match against Qatar, which was lost 3-2 in Doha. Quickly becoming the captain of the team, he was a focal point of the team for the next thirteen years.

He scored five goals in the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, helping the

Bulgarian national team

qualify for the final stage and making a major tournament appearance, which they had not had since 1986. In the United States, Bulgaria started with a 3-0 loss against Nigeria, although a 4-0 victory in the next game against Greece, with Stoichkov scoring two goals on penalty kicks, put the Bulgarians back on track for qualification.

The subsequent three points from a 2-0 win against Argentina (with Stoichkov again scoring) enabled the Bulgarian national team to advance to the next round. Later Stoichkov suffered a sprain that prevented him from taking part in the training.

Bulgaria drew 1-1 against Mexico in the round of 16 thanks to another goal from Stoichkov, but the Central Americans lost 3-1 on penalties. The Bulgarians defeated reigning world champions Germany 2-1 in the quarter-finals, with another goal from Stoichkov on a free-kick.

Following this match, the striker was awarded 1,000 dollars as the best player on the pitch and he donated his victory money to an orphanage in Sofia. His penalty goal in the semi-finals failed to change the game against Italy, who won 2-1. In the third-place final, Bulgaria lost 4-0 to Sweden, ending in fourth place, the best result in the history of the national team.

Following the event, Stoichkov won the Golden Shoe of the World Cup with 6 goals (tied with Oleg Salenko) and the Bronze Ball of the World Cup. Throughout the World Cup, he publicly spoke out against his own coach, Dimităr Penev, whom he deemed better on a psychological than a tactical level.

Stoichkov also played in the 1996 European Championship with his team in England and scored three goals in three matches and had a goal disallowed against Spain, just failing to reach the quarter-finals. He was included in the dream team of the tournament at the end of the European Championship.

He went on to play in the 1998 World Cup in France, but without the same results as before, and was also penalized after returning late to the training camp with teammate Ljuboslav Penev and being involved in a fight with Emil Kostadinov.

In total Stoichkov played 83 games with the Bulgarian senior national team and scored 37 goals. He holds third place in the national team's goalscoring charts. Now stay tuned to this section of

Hristo Stoichkov biography

as we want to share some info about his coaching career.

Hristo Stoichkov Profile

In 2003 Stoichkov began his coaching career. He began coaching youth teams and then became assistant coach of Barcelona on 15 December. Following three consecutive defeats at the 2004 European Championship, Bulgarian national team coach Plamen Markov stepped down and on 15 July of the same year, Stoichkov was appointed as his replacement, signing a two-year contract.

He accused UEFA president Lennart Johansson of fixing the Sweden-Bulgaria match, which ended 3-0, in favour of the hosts in September 2005, and was sued by the Swedish manager.

The Bulgarian federation was forced to make an official apology to Johansson a few days later. Stoichkov stepped down on 10 April 2007 due to the negative results and became the new coach of

Celta Vigo


By the end of the season, despite being relegated to the Segunda División, he was reappointed, only being in charge until 8 October 2007, when he got relieved due to a bad start to the season. Following his dismissal, he began working as a sports pundit on Catalan television.

He was named coach of M. Sundowns on 29 June 2009, but failed to renew his contract with the South African club on 16 March 2010, leaving the club. He was recruited by Liteks Loveč on 5 January 2012 to replace Atanas Džambazki. While at Liteks Loveč, he made public threats against the president of the Bulgarian football federation Borislav Mihajlov and was fined around €2,500.

He was in charge until 31 May 2013. He was called to manage CSKA Sofia on 5 June 2013 but chose to step down on 8 July, after only one month of managing them. He bought ownership of the club in September of the same year, but was unable to balance the books and sold the club two years later.

Now stay tuned to this section of Hristo Stoichkov biography as we want to share some info about his playing style.

Style of Play

Trequartista or left-footed centre forward with a grumpy temperament, he was a talented footballer, who later became a superstar during his years at Barcelona. An implacable prolific striker, powerful, with superb dribbling and an impressively built physique, he was also noted as an assist-man, helping to make the offensive play of Cruyff's Barcelona a success, in which he was often deployed on the right flank.

He was brilliant from a tactical point of view, skilled with both the inside and outside of his foot, and capable of making precise throws for his teammates, during matches, he alternated between sluggish moments and shorter ones where he played very quickly. He was also a specialist in free kicks.


Equally renowned for his talent and bad temper, he was one of the best footballers in the world in the 1990s. He was awarded the Ballon d'Or for the best European player in 1994 while playing for FC Barcelona. Many consider him to be the best football player in the history of Bulgarian football.

Hristo Stoichkov outside Football

Stoichkov has never concealed his undying hatred for FC Barcelona's eternal opponent, the

Real Madrid

team. While on Barcelona's summer tour of the


in 2003, the Bulgarian kicked a spectator wearing a Real Madrid jersey out of an evening training session in Washington. The young man was given a choice by his coach, who was watching the players from close range, to remove his jersey or leave the venue, but he preferred to leave the stadium.

At the moment, most of Stoichkov's time is taken up with working at his own football school in Villafranca, while in his spare time he used to play golf with Johan Cruyff.

Along with other football celebrities, he played the role of himself in a 1998 Gary Lineker television series (directed by Lloyd Stanton) called Golden Boots.

In the 1994 Bulgarian parliamentary elections, he backed the centrist party and in Sofia alone, 300,000 banners bearing his image were put up.

Hristo Stoichkov Personal Life

In this section of Hristo Stoichkov biography, we will take a deeper look into his personal life and share some information about things like

Hristo Stoichkov life story


Hristo Stoichkov religion

, stay tuned.

Family, Children and Relationships

Stoichkov and his family, his wife and two daughters, live in Barcelona. They live in Catalonia because, as he said, people there love him, but in his home country Bulgaria they do not seem to understand that he was a football idol.


On 29 May 2005, a charity match was held between the "Dream Team" and the "All-Stars" team made up of friends of the Bulgarian international. A crowd of 30,000 at Camp Nou cheered the hero of the occasion, who scored 2 goals (the rivals responded with one goal by Davor Šuker). The team of Cruijff and Carles Rexach included, among others the likes of Sergi Barjuán, Miguel Ángel Nadal, Jon Andoni Goikoetxea, Guillermo Amor, Gheorghe Popescu, Eusebio Sacristán, Juan Antonio Pizzi, Julio Salinas, Aitor Beguiristáin, Gheorghe Hagi and Rivaldo.

The team led by Bobby Robson and Dimitar Penev starred players such as Dan Petrescu, Iwajlo Jordanov, Emile Kostadinov, Djalminha, Jordan Leczkow, Krasimir Balykov, Roberto Mancini, Frank Rijkaard and Iván Zamorano. The referee for the match was Stoichkov's friend Atanas Uzunov.

Legal Issues

Stoichkov has worked as a sports commentator on the Univisión Deportes channel, where his outspoken style has caused some controversies, such as the one between the Bulgarian and the Spanish government regarding the dispute with Catalonia, which resulted in his dismissal as honorary consul of Bulgaria in the city of Barcelona.

Hristo Stoichkov Career Statistics

In this section of Hristo Stoichkov biography, we will take a look at his career stats on the international and club level.


For 21 years between 1982 and 2003, Stoichkov played a total of 596 matches for many different teams and was also able to score 290 goals.


He has also represented the Bulgarian national team on 83 occasions, scoring 37 goals. His last international goal was scored on 31 March 1999, in the UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying against Luxembourg.


In his rather short career as a coach, he recorded a 50.77 percent win ratio with 66 wins, 30 draws and 34 defeats in a total of 130 matches.

Hristo Stoichkov Honors

He has won many awards and titles as a player, with all of them being at the club level. This list includes Bulgarian League and Cup, La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA

Champions League

, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Asian Cup Winners' Cup and many others.

The list of Stoichkov’s personal awards is also massive, with most notable of them including Ballon d'Or, Bulgarian Footballer of the Year, European Golden Shoe, UEFA Jubilee Awards – Greatest Bulgarian Footballer of the last 50 Years, FIFA 100 and many others.

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source: SportMob

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