24th March 2001
Hristo plays for Chicago in a tournament
Hristo Stoitchkov played one half during the loss of Chicago Fire from New England Revolution in the pre-season tournament of the teams of MLS. The finalist in last-year's championship allowed a first loss and Revolution took their first win. The Dagger was tired from his travelling to Bulgaria and was substituted in the beginning of the second half.
20th March 2001
Hristo running after an airplane
18th March 2001
It was announced from Plovdiv, that Hristo Stoitchkov has said, that he will be present to today's last match of the 17th round of "A" group Botev-CSKA.
15th March 2001
The Chicago Fire scored a dramatic 4-3 win over the Colorado Rapids tonight at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to earn six points and first place in the MLS Spring Training Tournament.
The Fire originally got on the board in the 34th minute to take a 1-0 lead when Dema Kovalenko found Hristo Stoitchkov rushing down the right wing. The Bulgarian World Cup legend crossed the ball into the box, where U.S. international Josh Wolff put it passed Adin Brown. "The goal is typical of one that Hristo and I link up on," Wolff said. "I just made a good, hard run and he was able to find me."
The Fire's next game in the MLS Spring Training Tournament is on Saturday, March 17 at 3:00 PM (CT) against defending MLS Cup Champion Kansas City Wizards.
6th March 2001
In a telephone call from Chicago for 'Cadena SER', Hristo Stoitchkov said, that the leadership of FC Barcelona is not working well. See what Hristo says.
12th February 2001
Bulgarian forward Hristo Stoitchkov signed a multi-year contract with Major League Soccer and the Chicago Fire last week. The deal will keep the World Cup legend in a Fire uniform for two more seasons. Just days after signing the extension, Stoitchkov played in today's 3-0 win over the U.S. Under-17 National Team in Bradenton, Florida. The match marks Stoitchkov's first action of the 2001 preseason. Stoitchkov has been involved in full practices and is building upon his fitness according to the Fire's Athletic Trainer Rich Monis. The rehabilitation has commenced and Stoichkov is off the injured list and into full training.
7th February 2001
Stoitchkov agrees to two-year extension with MLS
CHICAGO (AP) — As Chicago Fire players consoled each other after their disappointing loss in the MLS Cup last fall, Hristo Stoitchkov slipped away from his teammates and headed for the fan section. Once one of the world's best players and still one of its most famous athletes, he spent several minutes shaking hands with the Chicago fans and thanking them for their support. "I enjoyed my first year with the Fire, I think we were very successful,'' Stoitchkov said. "It would have been better if we had won MLS Cup, but I strongly believe we can accomplish that. That's part of the reason why I decided to stay here a while longer.'' Stoitchkov and the Fire announced Wednesday that he's signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2002 season. His return is a huge boost for the Fire, who lost leading scorer Ante Razov to the Spanish League after last season. Though Chicago has plenty of depth up front with up-and-comers Josh Wolff, Dema Kovalenko and DeMarcus Beasley, Stoitchkov gives the Fire a proven, offensive threat. Despite missing 13 games with groin injuries, Stoitchkov was the Fire's second-leading scorer last season with nine goals and seven assists. And when it was playoff time, he looked like the superstar Stoitchkov of old, scoring four goals and five assists in six games. He also scored a goal in Chicago's U.S. Open Cup victory. "It's a great day for the Fire and for the league overall,'' said Peter Wilt, the Fire's general manager. "Our organization has benefitted tremendously since he has joined the Chicago Fire. He has become a great role model with his passion and love for the game.'' Stoitchkov, who turns 35 on Thursday, was one of the world's best players in the 1990s. He scored 37 goals for the Bulgarian national team, and won titles with powerhouse clubs such as Barcelona and CSKA Sofia. His six goals made him the leading scorer in the 1994 World Cup and helped Bulgaria to a fourth-place finish, although he did pull himself out of the semifinal against Italy in the 79th minute. He was voted European player of the Year in 1994. But it's not just his impressive skills that make him so valuable. He's been a role model for the Fire's younger players, particularly Wolff and Beasley, who are starting to make their mark with the U.S. national team. "From the beginning, Hristo took a lot of responsibility to work with young players,'' coach Bob Bradley said. "I think that was part of the reason he wanted to come to the United States, he wanted to share his experiences. "They really feel like he has taught them a great deal. Not just the little things on the field, but also just how you handle yourself as a professional soccer player,'' Bradley added. "He's just been a terrific part of our team.'' While Stoitchkov said he feels an obligation to mentor the younger players, he's enjoying playing with the next generation. Even if they lose a game, they bounce right back, already plotting what they have to do to win the next game before they leave the locker room. That's the same joy and passion that's driven him his entire career. Seeing it in his teammates made his decision to return an easy one. "This is a phenomenal group of players,'' Stoitchkov said. "It's a young squad, it's a winning squad and it's a squad with character. That and Bob Bradley's decision to return was a huge factor. "I'm very motivated for the upcoming season. I look forward to doing what I can to continue to help the winning tradition with the Chicago Fire.''
7th February 2001
HRISTO STOITCHKOV INKS MULTIYEAR DEAL WITH MLS, CHICAGO FIRE
World Cup Veteran to Remain in Chicago Through 2002
CHICAGO (Wednesday, February 7, 2001) -- Chicago Fire and Major League Soccer officials today announced that Bulgarian international Hristo Stoitchkov has signed a multiyear contract with the league and club. Stoitchkov, who was allocated to Chicago on March 15, 2000, will continue to contribute his skills with the 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion Chicago Fire through 2002. Details of his contract were not disclosed. "I'm very excited with the deal because this is where I want to be," said Stoitchkov. "I enjoyed my first year with the Fire, I think we were very successful. It would have been better if we had won MLS Cup, but I strongly believe we can accomplish that. That's part of the reason why I decided to stay here a while longer. The Fire has the best group of players in this league, the best head coach, and the best organization. We're going for two cups this year." Stoitchkov, who turns 35 tomorrow, has performed at the highest level of soccer both at the club and international levels. He made his U.S. debut with the Fire during the team's 2000 campaign, helping the squad reach its second MLS Cup final and guiding the team to its second U.S. Open Cup championship in three years. His nine goals and seven assists (despite missing 13 games due to several groin injuries) ranked second on the team. His freekick bomb at D.C. United on April 8, 2000 was nominated for MLS's Goal of the Year and he was also named to MLS's 2000 Best Eleven. "It is wonderful for the League, the Fire and the fans that Hristo has extended his contract with MLS," said Fire GM Peter Wilt. "Hristo exemplifies everything the Fire looks for in a player on and off the field. He has been one of the greatest soccer players the sport has ever produced, and he has garnered the respect of players, coaches and fans alike with his great talent. He is a terrific ambassador for soccer in MLS and in the U.S. in general. I am confident that he will continue to electrify fans with his tremendous style of play." Stoitchkov made his international debut on September 23, 1987 and retired from his country's side with 84 caps and 37 goals for the Bulgarian National Team. Voted Best Bulgarian Football Player of the Year five times in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, he was also named Best Bulgarian Athlete of the Year in 1994. As his country's second top scorer of all-time, he led Bulgaria to a fourth place finish at the 1994 U.S. World Cup. For his efforts for his country, and club team - then Barcelona - he was named the FIFA Footballer of the Year in 1994. He was a big part of the 1998 Bulgarian World Cup squad in France. "We are very excited that Hristo has chosen to stay in Chicago for two more years," said Fire Head Coach Bob Bradley. "From the beginning he took a lot of responsibility to work with our younger players. That was part of the reason he wanted to come to the U.S. in the first place. Younger players look up to him and they feel he has taught them a great deal. He has been a terrific part of our team, and I look forward to a continued, positive relationship with him." Some of Stoitchkov's other accolades include: Top Scorer of the Bulgarian Championship twice in 1989 (23 goals) and 1990 (38 goals)...Holds the record for Top Scorer of the Bulgarian Championship for one season with 38 goals...Named to World Soccer's 50 Greatest Players of the 20th Century...Has 25 goals in UEFA Champions Cup matches...Has 16 goals in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup...Netted seven goals in 20 appearances in the Bulgarian National Cup...Played in 18 matches of the Red Army Cup scoring 14 goals...Appeared in 40 matches of the Spanish King's Cup, netting 20 goals...Scored five goals in eight matches of the Spanish SuperCup...Scored in all three Euro '96 games...Has won a domestic title every year since 1989. Stoitchkov is currently with the rest of the Fire squad in Bradenton, Florida as the team opened pre-season camp yesterday. He lives in Lake Forest, IL, with his wife Mariana and daughters Mikaela (14) and Hristina (10).
Quotes from the Hristo Stoitchkov Conference Call.
30th January 2001
The injury should sideline the Bulgarian striker for another 2 weeks.
22nd January 2001
Hristo Stoitchkov continues to rehabilitate his left knee after his successful surgery last week. The injury should sideline the Bulgarian striker for 3-4 weeks, but he is scheduled to participate in the team's first training session of 2001 on February 5.
11th January 2001
Bulgarian superstar Hristo Stoitchkov yesterday underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee yesterday in what the team's physician, Dr. Preston Wolin, described as "extremely successful." Stoitchkov, who turns 35 next month, is expected to be out 3-4 weeks and is scheduled to participate in the Fire's first training session of 2001 on February 6. Stoitchkov was the Fire's second-leading scorer (9g, 7a for 25 pts.) in the 2000 season despite having missed 13 games due to several groin injuries.
5th January 2000
In his interview 'Without Censorship', which was sold on a CD, Diego Mardona showed his chart for the best players of the century. Hristo Stoitchkov is No 10. Hristo and Diego are good friends since the time Diego used to play in Sevila.
28th December 2000
Hristo Stoitchkov was chosen to be Bulgarian player No 3 for the year 2000. Player No 1 of the year 2000 is Georgi Ivanov from Levski and player No 2 is Stillian Petrov from Celtic.
17th December 2000
The vice-president of 'Lukoil' announced, that Hristo Stoitchkov is going to put an end of his career in a match of the century in Burgas next year. Only 'Golden Ball' winners will participate in the supershow. The financing of the beneficial game will be provided by 'Lukoil'.
17th December 2000
The fanclub of CSKA Sofia gave Hristo a small copy of the 'Golden Ball' and the 'Golden Shoe'. Hristo had an sppointment with representers of the fanclub and after that met Dimitar Penev. Hristo uses the time, while he is in Bulgaria to see as many friends as possible.
15th December 2000
Hristo Stoitchkov was awarded as the best Bulgarian player of the century. He was surprised at a ceremony in Pressclub 'Bulgaria'. At the same time he was announced as a best Bulgarian sportsman for the month of October. The 34-year old forward of Chicago Fire was surprised with a cake with a note 'Stoitchkov - Football Player No 1 of the Twentieth Century'.
14th December 2000
Hristo Stoitchkov was welcomed in Plovdidv like a President
12th December 2000
Stoichkov goes home for final bow
Hristo Stoichkov has returned to Bulgaria to play his last ever game on native soil. Incredibly, given the fact that he was once banned for a year for instigating a players' brawl at the cup final, he has chosen a testimonial for a referee to mark the historic occasion.
However, this is no ordinary referee. Atanas Uzunov is perhaps Bulgaria's most respected match official. Moreover, nearly 20 years ago in Plovdiv, he played a vital role in guiding the early career of a highly-promising, if slightly wild teenager.
"I owe a lot to Nasko," Stoichkov revealed after touching down in Sofia on Monday. "He helped to start my career in the local teams in Plovdiv. He will always be one of my best friends and was the best man at my wedding.
"Maybe he is the best ever Bulgarian referee. It will be a pleasure to play in his testimonial. I hope the game will prove that my native town of Plovdiv is a soccer-mad city and the stadium will be full."
When Stoichkov was still at school, Uzunov organised a trial for him with Gagarin, a local works' side. Later on, he introduced the skilful striker to professional team Hebros Harmanli. Soon Stoichkov was starring for CSKA Sofia.
Since then he has gone on to win four Bulgarian titles, five Spanish championships with Barcelona, the 1992 European Cup and helped Bulgaria to reach the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup finals.
Named European Player of the Year in 1994, Stoichkov is also one of the few players to win major trophies on three different continents, having helped Al Nasser win the Asian Cup and current club Chicago Fire pick up the MLS National Cup.
Nowadays, the powerfully-built 34-year-old is very much a globe-trotting superstar. "Last week, I opened a soccer school in Barcelona and hope it will do well," he confirmed. "I also have one year left on my contract with Chicago Fire and hope that, this time, we will win the league."
Yet Stoichkov has never forgotten his roots. In Wednesday's game between Plovdiv's two biggest sides, Botev and Lokomotiv, he will play one half for each team. Uzunov, who is now too old to officiate in the Bulgarian league, will referee the friendly, while even the Bulgarian President, Petar Stoyanov, has promised to be in attendance.
It should be an occasion to match Stoichkov's last appearance for Bulgaria, when he handed out a few football lessons in a 1-1 draw with England in June 1999. Just so long as, this time, the temperamental striker does not clash with the referee.
12th December 2000
The boss of CSKA Sofia Vassil Bojkov and Hristo Stoitchkov had a 30 minute talk at the VIP zone of Sofia Airport yesterday. The meeting was hidden from the curious looks and the two of them saw each other secretly in one of the VIP halls of the airport. According to some sources, the two of them have discussed different variants for the leadership of CSKA and it is possible, that the 'Golden Ball' for 1994 may intermediate for the transfers of players in Spain. From CSKA denied the version, that Bojkov has offered Stoitchkov shareholdings in the team.
Hristo arrived with a flight from Munich at 3:20 PM.
Hristo Stoitchkov met the forward of Servette Geneva Martin Petrov at the airport in Munich, but didn't sit next to him during the flight, because he was accompanied by two foreigners, possibly Spanish. Hristo didn't sit in the business class of the airplane, but was sitting among the regular passengers. During the flight he didn't refuse an autograph to anyone.
12th December 2000
Bodyguards took Hristo Stoitchkov out of a secret entrance at Sofia Airport in order to hide him from the waiting 40 journalists. The megastar came back home in Bulgaria yesterday in order to take part in the beneficial match of the referee Atanas Uzunov.
The original sources claimed, that the Dagger will arrive with a flight from Munich and will go out of the VIP zone of the airport. Among the welcomers was also Hristo Zaprjanov. While everyone was waiting for Stoitchkov to appear two guards went through the VIP entrance and took Hristo out of the entrance for passangers. One of the cops serving on the airport assisted them. Passing by some of the journalists Stoitchkov waved with his hand.
At the same time Botev Plovdiv and Lokomotiv Plovdiv argued about whose jersey shall the Chicago Fire forward wear during the first half of the match. At the end it was decided, that the Dagger will play for Lokomotiv during the first half. The beneficial match starts tomorrow at 2 PM, Bulgarian time and will be shown LIVE on the Bulgarian National Television.
11th December 2000
Hristo Stoitchkov will be in a vacation till April next year, when the new season of MLS starts. The team of Hristo plays its first match versus Columbus Crew on the 7th of April.
As it become known, Stoitchkov continued his contract with Fire till 2002 and will probably end his career after that.
10th December 2000
The Spanish newspaper 'El Mundo Deportivo' announced, that the legends of Barca Hristo Stoitchkov and Bernd Schuster will advise the coaching leadership and the bosses of the team about the fulfillment of international transfers. Hristo and Schuster participated in the last training of Barca before today's derby match versus Espaniol at Camp Nou. The two of them talked longly and widely about the situation in the camp of the Catalunian grand.See what Hristo says.
9th December 2000
Hristo Stoitchkov arrives in Bulgaria late in the evening on the 11th of December and will travel straight to Plovdiv.
9th December 2000 5th December 2000
Hristo Stoitchkov gave an interview for 'Darik Radio', in which he says, that he is coming for the beneficial match of Atanas Uzunov on the 13th. Here is a part of what he also said.
Hristo Stoitchkov took the 63rd place in the chart of the British football magazine 'Total Football' for best striker of the century. Hristo is ahead of top-scorers like Toto Scilacci, Michael Laudrup, Christian Vieri, Alen Boksic, John Oldridge, Claudio Caniggia, Brian Cluff, Oleg Blohin, Gianlica Viali, Uwe Sehler, Denis Bergcamp, Teofilio Cubillias, Alan Simonsen, Roberto Mancini, Patrick Kluivert, Tostao and others.
The first place took Marco Van Basten followed by Pele, Eusebio, Ferenc Puskas, Gerd Mueller, Alfredo DeStephano, Dixie Dean, Jimmy Greeves, Romario, John Charles. Maradona is forteenth.
5th December 2000