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Hristo Stoichkov has been named Bulgaria’s national coach.

Stoichkov has agreed a two-year contract with the Bulgarian Football Union with an option for another two years.

“He was appointed after the executive committee of the Bulgarian Football Union voted to replace Plamen Markov who refused to sign a new contract after his contract expired on June 30,” the ruling body’s spokesman Atanas Karaivanov said.

Stoichkov, 38, is expected to arrive in Sofia on July 23 before selecting his coaching team.

“We chose him because of his personality and name, he will get the respect of the players,” said Boris Mihailov, vice president of the Bulgarian Football Union.

“It’s a risk but he will have assistants and he has great experience as a player.”

Markov resigned after Bulgaria lost all three group matches at Euro 2004 in Portugal last month.

Stoichkov is his country’s greatest ever player and is perhaps best remembered for spearheading Bulgaria’s march to the 1994 World Cup semi-finals.

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