Bulgarian Collegians Pick Football Legend Stoichkov for Patron

Society | March 21, 2013, Thursday // 12:52|  views

Bulgaria's Hristo Stoichkov, a former Barcelona striker, nicknamed The Dagger over his fiery temperament, has worked all over the world as football player and coach. Photo by BGNES

The National Representation of the College Students Councils (NPSS) has selected Bulgarian football legend Hristo Stoichkov as the "face" of their just founded "Eagles' Bridge" Movement.

In a letter to the media, NPSS explain college students have gathered Wednesday evening near the lake Ariana in the central Sofia park Borisova Gradina and have founded the Movement whose main goal was to oppose the status quo in Bulgaria through young, nonpartisan Bulgarians.

At the gathering, the college students have decided to elect as a leader an individual who will fight with them for their cause without attempting to gain personal benefits; a person who has never been a politician, and who has no such ambitions.

The above led them to elect Stoichkov for the post.

The students are to meet Thursday with the football legend at the Arena Armeets venue in the capital where he holds training practices with children football teams.

They will present to him their ideas, goals, and their wish to invite him to become the patron of their Movement.

The key Sofia intersection "Eagles' Bridge" has been the scene of the largest protest rallies of Bulgarians in recent months.

Stoichkov, a former Barcelona striker, nicknamed The Dagger over his fiery temperament, has worked all over the world.

He is regarded as one of the best football players of his generation and the greatest Bulgarian footballer ever. He was a member of the Bulgaria national team, which he led to the semifinals and to the fourth place at the 1994 World Cup – an all-times top Bulgarian football success.

Bulgaria also finished second in the qualifying group for Euro 1996 with Stoichkov scoring 10 goals for his team during the qualifiers

In the late-80s of the 20th century, he moved from Sofia's CSKA football club to FC Barcelona, where he was part of Dutch Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team." Stoichkov helped Barcelona to one of the most successful times of the club, winning the Primera Division four years in a row between 1991 and 1994 and the European Cup. During his stay in Barcelona, he turned into an idol for the club's fans, and was Barca's most popular player.

Stoichkov retired from international competitions in 1999 with 37 goals in 83 appearances for the Bulgarian national team, but between 2000 and 2003 he competed in the US. He has a total of 292 goals and 606 matches in his track record.

He is also the most honored Bulgarian football player ever – in the mid-80s, he won the European Golden Boot with CSKA; at the 1994 World Cup, he was awarded the World Cup Golden Boot as the joint top goal scorer of the tournament (with Oleg Salenko), with six goals, as well as earning the Bronze Ball award. Stoichkov was honored as European Footballer of the Year in 1994 and was named by Pele as one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony in 2004. He has been named several times Footballer Number One of Bulgaria and Competitor Number One on the Balkans.

Stoichkov's coaching career is a stark proof that not every great football player makes a great coach. His tenure as manager of the Bulgarian national football team, between its start in July 2004 until its end in April 2007, is largely seen as a disaster with the failures to qualify the team for the 2006 World Cup and for Euro 2008. In the aftermath, he coached several second division Spanish teams. His coaching career seemed to have ended in March 2010, when he left South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns, however, in addition to coaching children teams, he is currently the coach of the Bulgarian Lovech-based Litex.

Apart from his footballing talent, Stoichkov is notorious for his short temper and colorful language. He will remain in sports history with his cursing and heated arguments with other players and referees.

In mid-October 2011, Stoichkov was appointed Bulgarian consul in Barcelona. He is known to be a close friend and staunch supporter of former Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov,

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Tags: the Dagger, coaching, coach, Mamelodi Sundowns, 1994 World Cup, CSKA, FC, Barcelona, football player, Boyko Borisov, Hristo Stoichkov, Litex, National Representation of the College Students Councils, NPSS, Movement, Eagles' Bridge


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