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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 10, 2007

Stoichkov quits Bulgaria, takes over at Celta

MADRID, April 10 (Reuters) - Hristo Stoichkov was appointed coach of Spanish league strugglers Celta Vigo after quitting his post in charge of the Bulgarian national team on Tuesday.

'The club has concluded an agreement with the Bulgarian who was up until now the coach of his national side,' Primera Liga club Celta said on their website.

Celta added that the former Barcelona and Bulgaria international striker was expected to arrive in Vigo later on Tuesday and would give a news conference on Wednesday.

The Galicians sacked coach Fernando Vazquez on Monday after dropping into the relegation zone following a 4-2 defeat at Recreativo Huelva.

Earlier, the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) said Stoichkov, 41, had notified them that he had decided to quit his post.

'We have accepted the resignation of Bulgaria coach Hristo Stoichkov and team manager Dimitar Dimitrov,' BFU president Borislav Mihailov said.

Stoichkov, who failed to lead Bulgaria to qualification for last year's World Cup finals, had come in for heavy criticism from the media and fans in recent months after lacklustre performances by the team.

'It's his own decision and after having talks with the other members of BFU's executive committee we decided to respect his will,' Mihailov said.

Dimitrov said he had turned down a BFU offer to take the vacant Bulgaria post.

'It's a matter of morals,' Dimitrov said. 'All these critics were not only against Stoichkov but the whole coaching staff.'

Stoichkov told Bulgarian television: 'The situation surrounding the national team was far from normal and I decided to calm it down.

'I didn't step down because of the Albania draw. I have other motives and Borislav Mihailov knows about it.

'We did everything possible to form a solid national team and I want to thank all my assistants. I wish the best of luck to my successor.'

Bulgaria drew 0-0 at home to Albania in a Euro 2008 qualifier last month, leaving them third in Group G with nine points from five matches, five points behind leaders the Netherlands who have played a game more.

'We don't have much time until the next Euro 2008 qualifier so we'll have to react quickly. We'll discuss candidates at a meeting on April 25,' Mihailov said.

Bulgaria visit Belarus on June 2 in their next Group G match.

Mihailov indicated Stoichkov's successor would be a Bulgarian when he said the 'BFU haven't enough time to hold negotiations with a foreign coach'.

Stoichkov took over from Plamen Markov after Bulgaria's poor display at Euro 2004.

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