President Rumen Radev, who took part in the opening of the “Hall of Fame” to the legend of Bulgarian football Hristo Stoichkov, expressed concern about what is happening in Bulgarian football, the press office of the head of state announced. “The passions surrounding football devastated the center of Sofia, vandalism is not love for sports. But those who lead the sport must have a heart for Bulgaria and responsibility for the players and the fans,” emphasized Rumen Radev in his greeting to the guests at the ceremony. quoted by BTA.
Fans and police were injured last night in clashes during a protest in Sofia against the Bulgarian Football Union. Over 80 elements of the city’s infrastructure have been identified as damaged after the protests.
Bulgaria honors 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 greeting, the head of state singled out the efforts and incredible achievements of Hristo Stoichkov, whose glorious 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,” President Radev pointed out. He recalled the memorable weeks of the summer of 1994, when, in his words, our people last experienced the intoxication of being together, hearts beating in one rhythm, and emotions accompanying every masterpiece of the “Foam Choir”. “The symbol of this victorious Bulgaria became Hristo Stoichkov”, the head of state pointed out and added that in the red color of the army club, with the symbols of “Barcelona” and with the national jersey, Stoichkov brought immeasurable joy and excitement to football fans.
According to President Radev, a person truly realizes what Stoichkov is for Bulgaria, when he goes outside the country and in his conversations with people from distant countries and continents, mentioning the name of our country, the reaction is always: “Bulgaria – ah, Stoichkov”. “This is the truest assessment. Stoichkov is a victory for Bulgaria,” said the head of state and emphasized that the football player has become a national symbol of our country around the world. Sports is that great activity that gives a boy from Plovdiv with the will, discipline and God-given talent the opportunity to give millions of people in our country and around the world the joy of playing and the pride of victories, Rumen Radev also pointed out.
A total of four presidents of Bulgaria attended the ceremony – the incumbent Rumen Radev and his predecessors Petar Stoyanov, Georgi Parvanov and Rosen Plevneliev. Among the guests were the mayor of Sofia Vasil Terziev, as well as prominent Bulgarian athletes and coaches such as Stefka Kostadinova, Tanya Bogomilova, Petar Lesov, Dimitar Penev, Krasimir Balakov, the manager who made the transfer of Stoichkov from CSKA to “Barcelona” – Jose Luis Mingeia.