Sunday, November 30, 2014

Croatia Greatest All-time Team


World Cup 1998

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

I have create an all-time Yugoslavian team that featured played from all the former republics.  This one is the all-time 23 member team for Croatia .  

Historically, Yugoslavia is loaded with football talents, but they did not perform as well as they should have. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, Croatia is the most successful national team of all the former republics.  In 1998, they made history by finishing 3rd at the World Cup in France.  They beat Germany 3-0 in the quarterfinal.  They led eventual winner France 1-0 in the semifinal before France scored twice to win 2-1.  After the World Cup in 1998, Croatia became a regular fixture at major tournament, qualifying for most of them.

Team
GK: Vladimir Beara  
He played on three World Cups; 1950, 1954 and 1958.  He was considered one of the greatest keepers from the Warsaw Pact.  With Hajduk Split (1946–55), he won the Yugoslav league title in 1950, 1952 and 1955. In 1955, he moved to Belgrade's Red Star (1955–60), where he won even more Yugoslav league titles, in 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, and won the Yugoslav Cup in 1958 and 1959. He was Red Star's goalkeeper against Manchester United in the last game United had played before the Munich Air Disaster. Beara ended his career in German clubs Alemannia Aachen (1960–62) and Viktoria Köln (1963–64).
Vladimir Beara 

GK  Franjo Glaser
He was a keeper during the 1940's.  He played both Yugoslavia and Croatia during the Period.   He is the only Yugoslav footballer who won national titles before and after the Second World War, with three different clubs BSK Belgrade, Građanski Zagreb and FK Partizan.

GK: Stipe Pletikosa
He played over 110 times for Croatia, starting in 1999.  Pletikosa started his professional career with Hajduk Split, from where he was transferred to Shakhtar Donetsk, before joining Spartak Moscow in 2007. In 2011, after spending one season with Tottenham Hotspur, he signed with FC Rostov, and moved to Deportivo de La Coruña in 2015, where he retired.

RB:  Darijo Srna
He is one of the best wingbacks of his generation. He is best remembered for playing over 10 years for Shaktar Donetsk and winning the UEFS Cup with them.  He is both captain for his club and country. He earned 134 caps.
Darijo Srna

CB: Igor Stimac
He won 53 caps and scoring two goals, and a member of the Croatian squad that came third at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He was also a member of the highly talented Yugoslavia under-20 team that won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. At the club level he played for Hajduk Split and, most notably, Derby County. 

CB: Igor Tudor 
He was most notably a member of the  national side that reached the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup, eventually finishing in third place. He also represented his country at Euro 2004, and the 2006 World Cup.  For his club career, he started with Hajduk Split and spent 9 seasons with Juventus.

CB/RB: Dario Šimić 
He earned 100 caps for Croatia. He was a member of the  national side that reached the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup.  He played for both Inter Milan and AC Milan and Ligue 1 side Monaco, before returning to his home club, Dinamo Zagreb in 2010.

CB: Ivica Horvat
He played in both 1950 and 1954 World Cup Finals and won a silver medal at the 1952 Olympics.  He played mostly for Dinamo Zagreb.  Horvat played from 1945 until 1957 for Dinamo Zagreb. In 1957 he moved to Germany to Eintracht Frankfurt, where he stayed until the end of his career.

CB/DM: Niko Kovac
Born in Germany of Croatian background.  He spent most of his career playing in the Bundesliga, where he played for Hertha Berlin, Hamburger SV, Bayern Munich and Bayer Lerkusen. He earned 83 caps for Croatia and was their captain from 2004 onward.  He is Robert Kovac's older brother.

CB: Robert Kovac
He represented Croatia in two World Cups, 2002 and 2006, and has also participated at two European Championships, 2004 and 2008.  He was the captain of the national team after his brother Niko retired.  He played a few of the biggest clubs in the world, notably with Bayern Munich and Juventus.  

LW/LB/CB: Branco Zebec 
Zebec was one of the greatest players ever from Yugoslavia. In his heyday the player from FK Partizan and Red Star Belgrade fascinated the world with his performances at the World Cups in 1954 and 1958. With Partizan he won 3 Yugoslav Cups (1952, 1954, 1957). With Red Star Belgrade he won the national championship in 1960. He led Yugoslavia to second-place at Euro 1960. 

LB: Robert Jarni 
He was a member of Yugoslavia's Golden Generation of the 1990's.  He went to the WC Finals in 1990 with Yugoslavia and later, represented Croatia at the WC Finals in 1998, where they reached the semifinal.  Professionally, he had played in big clubs such as Juventus and Real Madrid.
Robert Jarni

DM/CM: Velimir Zajec
Zajec began his career at Dinamo Zagreb in 1974.  In 1979 and 1984, he was named the Yugoslav Footballer of the Year. He then transferred to Greek club Panathinaikos. He won 36 international caps for Yugoslavia, and captained them at both the 1982 World Cup and the 1984 European Championships.  In 1979 and 1984, he was named the Yugoslav Footballer of the Year.

CM: Ante Zanetic
He earned 15 caps for the Yugoslavia national team, and participated in the 1960 European Nations' Cup.  He deflected to the West in 1961 and moved to Belgium, where he played for for Club Brugge K.V. and Racing White.

CM: Luka Modric 
Modric is one of the greatest playmakers of his generation.  He earned more 90 caps for Croatia.  He currently plays for Real Madrid, and won the Champions' League for the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 season.  He also played for  Dinamo Zagreb and Tottenham Hotspurs.  He played in the WC Finals of 2006 and 2014.  
Luka Modric

CM: Zlatko Čajkovski
He was considered one of the best Yugoslavian players ever.  he played for FK Partizan before moving to play for Koln in Germany. He also participated in the FIFA World Cups of 1950 and 1954.  

CM: Gustav Lehner
He played 44 matches for the Yugoslav national team between 1931 and 1940. He also played 12 matches for the IS Croatian national team. He spent his early career with Slavija Osijek and BSK Belgrade. In 1941, he and teammate Ernest Dubac joined Građanski Zagreb. At the end of the war, he became player-manager of Proleter Osijek.

AM/CM: Zvonimir Boban
He was the captain of the national team that finished third at the World Cup in 1998.  He was also an important player of the highly talented Yugoslavia under-20 team that won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship. He waas also remembered for his career with AC Milan with whom he won four Serie A and one UEFA Champions League titles.
Zvonimir Boban
AM: Robert Prosinecki
He was considered one of the most talented players from Yugoslavia in the 1990's.  In 1987, Prosinečki was named the tournament's best player as Yugoslavia won the World Youth Championship.  He then played for Yugoslavia at the 1990 World Cup and for Croatia at Euro 96 and the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.  For his club career, he played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but he failed to establish himself at neither club.
 Robert Prosinecki

LW/FW: Bernard Vukas 
In 2000, he was voted by the Croatian Football Federation as the best Croatian player of all time.  He was also a part of the Yugoslavia team in the 1950 FIFA World Cup and 1954 FIFA World Cup.  His career was associated with Hajduk Split, but he also played in Italy and Austria.

FW:  Stjepan Bobek 
He played for Partizan between 1945 and 1959 helping them win two Yugoslav First League titles and four Yugoslav Cups, and was named the club's greatest player in history in 1995. Internationally, he is the all-time top scorer for Yugoslavia, scoring 38 goals in 63 appearances between 1946 and 1956, and was member of Yugoslav squads which won two Olympic silver medals (in 1948 and 1952) and played in two World Cups (in 1950 and 1954).

ST: Davor Suker 
He was a part of Yugoslavia's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He later played for Croatia, where he is the all-time leading scorer.  He is best remembered for finishing the top scorer at the WC in 1998, where Croatia reached the semifinal.  He also played with Seville, Real Madrid, Arsenal, West Ham and 1860 Munich.  He was a top scorer in La Liga while playing for Seville and Real Madrid.
Davor Suker

ST:  Alen Boksic
He won the 1992–93 UEFA Champions League, and was voted fourth in the 1993 European Footballer of the Year poll. That same year, he was named Croatian Footballer of the Year. He also won two Serie A titles in 1997 and 2000 with Juventus and Lazio respectively, and is regarded as one of the best foreign players in the history of Serie A since 1980's.  He played for both Yugoslavia and Croatia.  He missed the 1998 World Cup Finals due to an injury.

Honorable Mention
Ivica Olić, Tomislav Crnković, Ivica Šurjak, Jurica Jerković and Aljoša Asanović, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandžukić

Squad Explanation
-- Seven of them went to the World Cup Finals in 1998: Igor Stimac, Igor Tudor, Dario Šimić, Robert Jarni, Zvonimir Boban,  Robert Prosinecki and  Davor Suker.   Alen Boksic missed the Finals because of an injury.
-- Nine playeres were on my Yugoslavia All-Time Team: Luka Modric, Ivica Horvat, Vladimir Beara, Robert Jarni, Branco Zebec, Zlatko Čajkovski, Bernard Vukas, Stjepan Bobek and Davor Suker.
-- Vladimir Beara  was born in modern day Croatia.  He is of Serbian ethnicity.  The ethnic issue is very sensitive in the region.  He is chosen for both all time teams for Serbia and Croatia.  
-- I have no space for Ivica Šurjak,, Jurica Jerković and Aljoša Asanović. 
-- Luka Modric and Darijo Srna have don enough for their country.  Both deserved to be on the time. I did not really consider Mario Mandžukić and Ivan Rakitic, but they might be able to build a career to be in consideration in the future. At this point, it is hard for them to displace the old-timers.

Starting lineup 
Formation: 4-3-3
Luka Modric actually started on my All-time Yugoslavian team, but I put him on the bench for this team.  Instead, I opted for two Croatian playmakers from the 1998 team.  I started Davor Suker over Alen Bokšić because I rewarded Suker a starting position as a WC hero.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Serbia Greatest All-time 23 member team



Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

I have create an all-time Yugoslavian team that featured played from all the former republics.  This one is the all-time 23 member team for Serbia.  I have also create an all-time team for Croatia and the rest of the former Yugoslavia without Serbia and Croatia.

Historically, Yugoslavia is loaded with football talents, but they did not perform as well as they should have. Dragan Stojkovic and
Dragan Dzajic were some of the greatest players in Yugoslavia. 

Team
GK: Vladimir Beara  
He played on three World Cups; 1950, 1954 and 1958.  He was considered one of the greatest keepers from the Warsaw Pact.  With Hajduk Split (1946–55), he won the Yugoslav league title in 1950, 1952 and 1955. In 1955, he moved to Belgrade's Red Star (1955–60), where he won even more Yugoslav league titles, in 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, and won the Yugoslav Cup in 1958 and 1959. He was Red Star's goalkeeper against Manchester United in the last game United had played before the Munich Air Disaster. Beara ended his career in German clubs Alemannia Aachen (1960–62) and Viktoria Köln (1963–64).

GK:  Milutin Soskic  
He was a legend with FK Partzan.  He later played for Koln in Germany from 1966 to 1971.  He was capped by Yugoslavia for 50 times between 1959 and 1966.

GK: Srđan Mrkušić
He was capped by both the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and  Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia between 1941 and 1950.  He went to the WC Finals in 1950.  He also went down in history as one of the founders of Red Star Belgrade football club in early March 1945.

RB: Branko Stanković 
He is a Bosian Serb. He was best remembered for his career with Red Star Belgrade, where he won 4 league titles and established himself as one of the best defender in Yugoslavian football history.  He played in both 1950 and 1954 World Cup Finals.

RB: Milutin Ivković 
He played in the 1930 World Cup Finals.  He is considered the best rightback in Yugoslavian football history.  He played for Yugoslavia at 1928 Summer Olympics and FIFA World Cup 1930. He was executed by the Nazi during the War.  

CB: Nemanja Vidic
He spent 9 seasons as the starting center-back at Manchester United from 2006 and 2014, where he won every major trophy and established himself as one of the best center-backs of his generation.  He also played for Inter Milan, Red Star Belgrade and Spartak Moscow.  He went to the WC Finals in 2006 and 2010.
Nemnja Vidic
CB: Velibor Vasovic
He was a legend at FK Partizan.  He lost the European Cup to Real Madrid in 1966.  A year later, he later joined Ajax and established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe.  In 1971, he captained Ajax as they won their first European Cup.  He played 32 times for Yugoslavia.

CB: Miroslav Djukic
He spent 14 years of his professional career in Spain, notably at the service of Deportivo de La Coruña and Valencia, amassing La Liga totals of 368 games and 11 goals, and winning six major titles for the two clubs combined. He played at Euro 2000 for Yugoslavia.


Sinisa Mihajlovic was capped 63 times between 1991 and 2003 for Yugoslavia.  He won the European Cup with Red Star Belgrade. In 1992, he moved to Italy and became was one of the best defender in Serie, notably played for Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter Milan.  With Lazio, he won UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1998–99. He was part of the golden generation of Yugoslav players who won the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship in Chile.
Sinisa Mihajlovic

DM: Milorad Arsenijević
He earned 52 caps for the Yugoslavia, and played in the 1930 FIFA World Cup.  He was born in Smederevo. However, he grew-up in Šabac where he started playing for the local team FK Mačva Šabac when he was 14.  In 1925, He joined BK Belgrade and retired there in 1938.

CM: Vladimir Jugovic
Jugovic was a member of Red Star Belgrade that won the European Cup in 1990.  He won another one with Juventus in 1996. He also played for Sampdoria, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Lazio, LR Ahlen, AS Monaco FC and VfB Admira Wacker Mödling. He warned 41 caps. He played at Euro 2000 and the World Cup 1998 for Yugoslavia.
Vladimir Jugovic
AM: Dejan Petković
After leaving Red Star Belgrade in 1995, Petkovic's career in Europe did not succeed.  In 1997, he joined Vitória in Brazil.  He was one of the few Europeans to play and succeed in the Brazilian league.  He was considered one of the best players in Brazil during his days there.  Between 2000 and 2011, he played for 7 Brazilian clubs.  He was a hero for three Rio clubs.  His international career, however, was limited to 7 caps.

AM: Dragan Stojkovic
He is considered one of the best players in the history of Yugoslavian and Serbian football. He starred for Yugoslavia at the 1990 FIFA World Cup (where he was named in the World Cup All-Star Team) and 1998 FIFA World Cup where he captained the team. He was a star player at Red Star Belgrade, but he was playing for Marseille when Red Star Belgrade beat Marseille in the 1990 Final of the European Cup.
Dragan Stojkovic
AM: Dragoslav Sekularac
He was considered one of the best player in Red Star Belgrade history.  He was a football idol door g the 1960's. He played in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup Finals, where his team reached the semifinal in 1962.  He later played for Independiente Santa Fe in Colombia for five seasons, before transferring to Millonarios from Bogotá and ending his playing career in the German Bundesliga with Karlsruher SC.

CM/DM/RM: Dejan Stankovic
He played for Red Stars Belgrade and Lazio, but he is best remembered for his stint with Inter Milan where he won 5 league titles and one Champions League title.  He played in three WC Finals for three different national teams: Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro and Serbia.  He captained the Serbia national team until 2011, when he announced his retirement from international football. 
Dejan Stankovic
RW:  Vujadin Boškov
He played with FK Vojvodina for most of his career (1946–1960). In 1961 he moved to Italy to play for Serie A club Sampdoria for one season and then, Young Boys in Switzerland.  Later in his career, he returned to his mother club and became a player/coach.

RW: Aleksandar Tirnanić
He played 50 times for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia between 1929 and 1940.  He went to the WC Finals in 1930, where he became among the youngest goal-scorer in WC history.

LW: Bora Kostić
He is the all-time leading scorer Red Star Belgrade,  During his club career he played for Red Star Belgrade, Lanerossi Vicenza and St. Louis Stars. He earned 33 caps and 26 goals for the Yugoslavia, and participated in the 1960 European Nations' Cup.

LW: Dragan Dzajic
Džajić is viewed by some football experts as perhaps one of the most underrated players in European football, partly because he played in Yugoslavia. He is considered one of the greatest left wing in history of the game.  He played most of his career with Red Star Belgrade.  He was capped 85 times for Yugoslavia.  He was voted the best player at Euro 1968.
Dragan Dzajic
ST/SS: Milan Galic
He scored 37 international goals in 51 matches for the Yugoslavia. He participated in the 1960 Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal, the 1960 UEFA European Football Championship, where Yugoslavia finished second and the 1962 FIFA World Cup, where Yugoslavia finished fourth. On the club level, he played for FK Partizan and Standard Liège.

ST/SS:  Rajko Mitic
He was the captain of Red Star Belgrade when it was found in 1945.  He was considered one of the club's greatest players.  He won 59 caps (in which he was captain 34 times) for Yugoslavia, and scored 32 goals.

ST:  Blagojie Marjanovic 
He played 57 times for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.  He was one of the first superstars in Yugoslavia.  He played in the WC Finals of 1930, where Yugoslavia reached the semifinal.


ST/SS:  Miloš Milutinović
He was one of the Milutinović brothers who were famous players and coaches in Yugoslavia.  He earned 33 caps in total and represented the country in the 1954 and 1958 World Cups.  During his club career he played for FK Bor, FK Partizan, OFK Beograd, FC Bayern Munich, RCF Paris, and Stade Français Paris. 
Miloš Milutinović

Honorable Mention
Mirolad Arsejanovi, Jovan Acimovic, Savo Milosevic, Petar Radenkovic, Vladimir Durković.

Squad Explanation 
-- Ten players are on my Yugoslavia All-Time Team: Branko Stankovic, Vladimir Beara, Milutin Soskic, Nemanja Vidic, Velibor Vasovic, Milutin Ivković, Dragan Stojkovic, Dragoslav Sekularac, Aleksandar Tirnanić and Dragan Dzajic.
-- Vladimir Beara was born in modern day Croatia.  He is of Serbian ethnicity.  The ethnic issue is very sensitive in the region.  So he is chosen for both all time teams for Serbia and Croatia.  
-- Branko Stankovic is listed as a Bosnian Serb.  He was born in Sarajevo. Again, ethnicity is a serious issue in the region. He is both of my all time team: Serbia and Former Yugoslavia Without Serbia and Croatia.
-- Fahrudin Jusufi sometimes listed on many Serbia All-Time list.  He is definitely considered to be an all-timer.  However, due to the complexity and sensitivity of the ethnic issue in the region, I decided to leave him out.  He was born in Dragas, Kosovo.  His ethnicity is listed as Gorani.  I do not know he is considered to be Serbian.
-- I tried to mix players from the days of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia to the modern era. 
-- I tried to find a spot for Mirolad Arsejanovi. 
-- Dejan Petkovic was relatively unknown in Europe, but he accomplished something few footballers were able to achieve. He found stardom playing league football in Brazil.
-- Savo Milosevic is probably among the most famous Serbian player after the end of Yugoslavia, but it is hard for him to displace the older players.

Starting lineup 
Formation I: 4-3-3

Formtion II: 4-2-3-1
This is a more defensive approach. I added Stankovic who is better defensively.



Friday, November 28, 2014

Bulgaria Greatest All-time Team


Bulgaria 1994
This is my all-time team for Bulgaria. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Bulgaria qualified for four straight World Cup Finals between 1962 and 1974, but they left no impression. Finally, the birth of the Golden Generation in 1990's gave rise of the Bulgarian football. In November, 1993, Bulgaria won probably their most important match in history.   They pulled a dramatic upset of France at the last match of the World Cup Qualifying rounds by scoring the winning goal at the dying minutes of the match. They leapfrogged France and qualified for USA 1994. At the World Cup Finals, they came from behind to beat defending champion Germany 2-1 in the quarterfinal.  They went on to finish 4th.

Team
GK: Georgi Naydenov
He is considered the greatest Bulgarian goalkeeper for all time. Between 1955 and 1965 he played in 176 matches for CSKA Sofia. He was honoured as Bulgarian Footballer of the Year in 1961

GK: Borislav Mikhailov
He was captain of the Bulgaria national team during their surprising fourth-place run at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, as well their participation in Euro 96. He also played at the 1986 FIFA World Cup and is currently the second most capped player for the Bulgaria national team with 102 caps (60 as captain),

GK: Apostol Sokolov 
He was Lev Yashin's idol.  He was believed to be one of the greatest keeper from Eastern Europe.  Sokolov started his career with FC Bulgaria Sofia. In 1939 he joined Levski Sofia. After six first-team games, Sokolov moved to Spartak Sofia. Then he played for Prince Kiril Sofia, before returned to Levski in 1944.He was capped 15 times for Bulgaria during the 1950's.  He is the father of Georgi Sokolov.

RB: Aleksandar Shalamanov
He earned 42 caps for the Bulgarian national team, with which he participated in the World Cup 1966 and World Cup 1970.  He has participated in the Winter Olympics as an alpine skier in 1960.  He was a reserve player for Bulgaria's volleyball team in 1964. He began his career as a defender with CSKA Sofia in 1960-61, but moved to Slavia Sofia in 1961 to remain there until 1974, 

CB: Manol Manolov 
He played 57 games for Bulgaria and won a bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Between 1948 and 1962 he played in 239 matches and scored 8 goals for CSKA Sofia. He was Bulgarian Footballer of the Year in 1958.
  
CB: Dimitar Penev
He is regarded as one of his country's best ever defenders, winning Bulgarian footballer of the year in 1967 and 1971, he also participated in 3 world cups for his country in 1966, 1970 and 1974. He spent most of his career with CSKA Sofia.
Dimitar Penev
CB: Ivan Dimitrov
He played 340 matches in the first League during his career, 70 matches for the Bulgarian national team.  He represented Bulgaria in the 1962 and 1970 FIFA World Cups. He also played for PFC Lokomotiv Sofia and PFC Akademik Sofia.  He was a tall, solid center-back.

CB:  Kiril Ivkov
He spent most of his career with Levski Sofia.   In 1974 and 1975 he was named Bulgarian Footballer of the Year.[ He was capped 44 times and played in the WC Finals in 1974.

LB:  Boris Gaganelov
He made 51 appearances for the Bulgaria.  He represented Bulgaria at the FIFA World Cups in 1966 and 1970.  With CSKA he won Bulgarian league 7 times and Bulgarian Cup 6 times.

LB: Trifon Ivanov 
Nicknamed "the Wolf".  He was a member of Bulgaria's Golden Generation that rearched the semi-final of World Cup 1994.  He was capped 76 times.  He played for Real Betis, Etar, CSKA, Neuchâtel Xamax, Rapid Wien, etc.
Trifon Ivanov 

LM/CM/AM: Yordan Letchkov
Perhaps best remembered for scoring the winning goal against Germany in the quarter-final at World Cup 1994.  He also played at Euro 1996.    He played for CSKA Sofia, Hamburger SV, Olympique de Marseille and Beşiktaş.

He was the defensive midfielder for Bulgaria's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He was capped 80 times.  He played at the World Cups in 1994 and 1998, and he was also in the Bulgarian Euro 1996.

He was most prominently played professionally for British clubs Celtic and Aston Villa.  At Celtic,  he became the first foreign player to win the SPFA Young Player of the Year award.  At Aston Villa, he was Players' Player of the Year: 2009, 2012.  He was also Bulgaria Player of the Year in 2003.
Stiliyan Petrov(R) with Dimitar Berbatov 
RW: Hristo Bonev 
Between 1967 and 1979, Bonev played for the Bulgarian national team 96 times, scoring a record 48 goals. He played for his country at the 1970 and 1974 World Cups. Most of Bonev's club career was spent with Lokomotiv Plovdiv, but he also played for CSKA Sofia and AEK Athens FC. One of the greatest Bulgarian footballers, Bonev was renowned for his vision and technique.

RW/CM/SS:  Ivan Petkov Kolev
Considered to be one of the best ever Bulgarian player.  He was capped 75 matches with 25 goals. He represented Bulgaria at both the 1962 FIFA World Cup and the 1966 FIFA World Cup.  He won a bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics.  He was the first Bulgarian to be nominated for Ballon d'Or.

LW: Martin Petrov
He was the 2006 Bulgarian Footballer of the Year.  He was capped 90 times for Bulgaria, playing at Euro 2004.  He was with CSKA Sofia when he moved to Switzerland.  He went on to play in the Bundesliga, La Liga and the Premiership.
Martin Petrov
LW:  Dimitar Yakimov
Nicknamed "the poet of football" for his dribbling skills. He was a star in the 1960's.  He went to three WC Finals: 1962, 1966 and 1970.   He was with CSKA Sofia.

AM: Krassimir Balakov 
One of the star player from the Golden Generation of the 1990's. He made 92 appearances for Bulgaria, between 1988 and 2003.  He was best remembered for forming a successful attacking partnership with strikers Fredi Bobic and Giovane Élber at Stuttgart. He also had a successful spell with Sporting CP.

Krassimir Balakov 

ST: Nasko Sirakov
He is a legend at Levski Sofia in the 1980's.  In 1988, Sirakov moved abroad, playing in La Liga, with Real Zaragoza and RCD Español. He also played with Ligue 1's RC Lens. He was the Buglarian league top scorer four times.  He played in the WC Finals: 1986 and 1994.  

ST: Georgi Asparukhov 
He is considered to be among the top Bulgarian footballers of all time. He was voted the best Bulgarian footballer of the 20th Century, ahead of Hristo Stoichkov.  He played for Levski Sofia from 1960 to 1961 and 1964 to 1971, and for Botev Plovdiv from 1961 to 1963.

ST:  Emil Kostadinov
He is best remembered for scoring two goals against France in the World Cup Qualfying match that helped Bulgaria to qualify for the WC in 1994.  He was capped 70 times.  Professionally, his best stint was with Porto where he spent 4 seasons.
Emil Kostadinov
ST: Dimitar Berbatov
He is its all-time leading goalscorer for Bulgaria. He has also won the Bulgarian Footballer of the Year a record seven times, surpassing the number of wins by Hristo Stoichkov.  His best seasons were spent with Bayer Leverkusen and Manchester United.

ST/FW: Hristo Stoichkov
He is Bulgaria's greatest player. At the 1994 World Cup, Stoichkov was awarded the Golden Boot as the joint top goal scorer of the tournament with six goals, as well as earning the Bronze Ball award. . At Barcelona he was part of Johan Cruyff's "dream team" that won four consecutive La Liga titles and one UEFA Champions League.  He also won the Ballon d'Or in 1994.
Hristo Stoichkov
Honorable Mention
Lyuboslav Penev, Nikolay Ilie, Dobromir Zhechev, Kiril Rakarov, Dinko Dermendjiev, Radostin Kishishev, Ivan Kolev, Atanas Mihaylov.

Squad Explanation
-- Apostol Sokolov was a pionner in the goalkeeper position. 
-- Georgi Asparukhov was voted as the greatest Bulgarian footballer of the Century.
-- Eight members of this team came from the Golden Generation in the 1990's. that reached the semifinal of the 1994 World Cup Finals.  Hristo Stoichkov, Emil Kostadinov, Nasko Sirakov, Krassimir Balakov, Zlatko Yankov, Yordan Letchkov, Trifon Ivanov and Borislav Mikhailov all went to that WC Finals.
-- Bulgaria qualified for four straight World Cup Finals between 1962 and 1974.  That generation was also considered to be very good even through Bulgaria had not won a single game in previous WC Finals.  
-- Only four players did not come from the 4 straight WC Finals' period and the 1994 World Cup Finals.  Dimitar Berbatov, Martin Petrov and Stiliyan Petrov were from after the 1994 WC Finals.  They achieved great club careers in the West after the end of communism. Apostol Sokolov was from before the Communist era.
-- Bulgaria took the bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics and a silver medal in 1968.
-- Lyuboslav Penev was unable to participate at the WC Finals in 1994. He might have made the team if he had a good WC Finals. 
-- Dimitar Berbatov won the Bulgarian Player of the Year 7 times, a record. He is probable,y the best known Bulgarian footballer since the 1994.
-- It will take a lot more from Ivelin Popov to make this team. He is the best player of his generation.


Starting lineup