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Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgarian: Христо Стоичков) (born February 8, 1966, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria) is a football manager and former striker.
At the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Stoichkov was awarded the Golden Boot as the joint top goal scorer of the tournament (with Oleg Salenko) as he miraculously led Bulgaria to the semi-finals. Apart from his numerous awards and trophies, Stoichkov gained much popularity because of his aggressive on-pitch temper. He could often be seen mouthing off Bulgarian profanities to the referee, or the opposite team. Stoichkov also played at Euro 96 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup and ended his international career with 37 goals in 84 appearances for his country.
He was the only player to score from a free kick in Euro 96, but they lost that match 3-1 to France and were eliminated in the group stage.
As a player, Stoichkov played as a left attacker/winger. His specialties included free kicks, penalties and taking unpredictable shots on goal. Stoichkov was also known for his explosive acceleration and speed dribbling.
Stoichkov began his career in his hometown, moving to Hebros(Harmanli) in 1984. The next year he went to CSKA Sofia, before moving on to the more prestigious Barcelona, Parma, and finally finishing his career in Japan with Kashiwa Reysol and the United States with the Chicago Fire and D.C. United.
In the 2003-04 season, Stoichkov started a coaching career, serving as a forwards coach at Barça. After Bulgarian national team coach Plamen Markov resigned in the wake of the team's first-round exit from Euro 2004, the Bulgarian Football Union named him as the new national team coach on 15 July.
Stoichkov's coaching career got off to a bad start with him failing to qualify the Bulgarian national team for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He brought his bad temper from his career as a player to the coaching bench. His first couple of seasons will be remembered with several scandals. A couple of proven players quit the team due to personal differences with Stoichkov. The most notable scandal was at the 03/09/05 game against Sweden, where he was sent-off for insulting the referee.
In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Bulgaria by the Bulgarian Football Union as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.