President Rumen Radev Takes Part in Football Legend Hristo Stoichkov’s Hall of Fame Ceremony
President Rumen Radev, who took part in the opening of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Bulgarian football legend Hristo Stoichkov, expressed concern about what is happening in Bulgarian football, the press office of the head of State said. “The passions surrounding football devastated the centre of Sofia, vandalism is not love for sports. But those who lead the sport must also have a heart for Bulgaria and responsibility towards the players and the fans”, stressed Radev in his address to the guests at the ceremony.
Fans and police were injured on Thursday night in clashes during a protest in Sofia against the Bulgarian Football Union. Over 80 elements of the city’s infrastructure have been damaged after the protests.
“Bulgaria honours its sports icons and I am glad that the generations who did not have the chance to watch Stoichkov’s great game live will have a place to come to draw inspiration and pride,” President Rumen Radev also stated at the ceremony.
In his address, the head of State singled out the efforts and incredible achievements of Hristo Stoichkov, whose career remains a benchmark for dedication to sports, talent and will. “Those tempted by football in our country are divided into two: those who experienced the American summer of 1994 and all the rest, the younger ones, who were not so lucky,” pointed out President Radev. He recalled the memorable weeks of the summer of 1994, when Bulgaria reached its best football achievement, a fourth-place finish at the FIFA World Cup in 1994, and when, in his words, Bulgarian people experienced for the last time the intoxication of being together, hearts beating as one. “The symbol of this victorious Bulgaria became Hristo Stoichkov”, the President pointed out.
President Radev noted that one truly realizes what Stoichkov is for Bulgaria when talking with people from distant countries and continents, as when mentioning the name of this country, the reaction is always: “Bulgaria! Ah, Stoichkov”. Radev stressed that the football player has become a national symbol of Bulgaria around the world.
A total of four former presidents of Bulgaria attended the ceremony – the incumbent Rumen Radev and his predecessors Petar Stoyanov, Georgi Parvanov and Rosen Plevneliev. Among the guests were Sofia Mayor Vassil Terziev, as well as prominent Bulgarian athletes and coaches such as Stefka Kostadinova, Tanya Bogomilova, Petar Lesov, Dimitar Penev, Krasimir Balakov, and Jose Luis Mingeia., the manager who made the transfer of Stoichkov from CSKA to Barcelona.