Stoycho Mladenov - official website» ЦСКА


Biography As a player Dimitrovgrad Beroe CSKA Belenenses Vitoria Estoril Bulgaria national team As a coach Olhanense CSKA Belenenses CSKA Bulgaria Under 21 Bulgaria national team CSKA Litex Kastoria Kalithea Veria CSKA Al Ahly Jeddah Al Ettifaq ENPPI CSKA CSKA Career as player Successes CV
The most glamorous part of the football career of Stoycho Mladenov is in CSKA. And it started from the place that best suited him – the tournament of the European champions. Because of a punishment Mladenov misses the glorious victories with 1:0 over Nottingham. And he makes his first appearance against the polish team “Szombierki“ ( Bytom).    

"In Sofia we won 4:0 and I came into play as a substitute and my dream came true – tells Mladenov – CSKA had a unique football generation. The coach Asparuh Nikodimov had 12 national team players. Even players who did not appear in the first team of CSKA, were summoned in the national team of Bulgaria. Nikodimov was an exceptional coach. He had an approach to everybody. He had a team of players who respected each other. But we had quarrels sometimes. But the only reason was that everybody required more from the other. When you criticize somebody, you have to be stronger than him.  Three years in a row CSKA dominated totally in the Bulgarian football. Our supporters got used with us leading 2:0 up to the 15th minute. When we could not achieve this score, some whistling started. We could win with whatever score we wanted. Once we scored 8 times against the team of Lokomotiv ( Pd)  which had such players as Hristo Bonev and Georgy Vasilev. We did not have any problems with Lokomotivs ( Sf) with Atanas Mihaylov and with Slavia with Andrey Zhelyazkov and Chavdar Tsvetkov. We did not have any problems with beating our main rival Levski as well.  It sometimes happened that our friends from the other team begged us that we did not beat them with more than 2-3 goals. Our generation was one of the three brand ones for CSKA. The first one was of Dimitar Yakimov, Krum Yanev and Ivan Kolev . After our generation, came such players as Hristo Stoychkov, Liuboslav Penev and Emil Kostadinov. In our CSKA we knew each other quite well  and we lived with the game. When Georgi Dimitrov was with the ball, I knew  the exact place to which he would pass it to me without watching. I appeared alone in front of the keeper and scored. I have always been on the opinion that Georgi Dimitrov is the Bulgarian Franz Beckenbauer. There had not been a season without  him scoring 6-7 goals. CSKA had players with magnificient technical qualities – Plamen Markov, Ruzhdy Kerimov, Mario Valkov, Spas Zhevizov, Tsvetan Yonchev, Georgi Slavkov, Georgi Dimitrov, Georgi Velinov, Kolyo Velkov, Radi Zdravkov. And, despite being friends, we often quarreled. We even split to groups. The coaches saw that fact. Once we were on a training camp in Teteven. Asparuh Nikodimov entered the dressing room and said “If it is necessary you will spend the whole day here, but I need you to clear it out between yourselves”.

The resolution was very funny but I will not tell who did it. The coach asked one of us “What will you say?”and he answered “I was so much drunk that I do not remember”. We all started laughing. CSKA was a team famous for its discipline. Not only in football but in all other sports as well. If we had a draw or lost a game it was equal to a tragedy. We used to hide so that none of the generals could see us. Let alone be it Dobri Dzhurov.

Many consider that in 1982 CSKA had the best team to win the Cup of the European Champions. A year ago after the victories over Nottingham, the team got beaten by Liverpool after two losses – 1:5 in England and 0:1 in Sofia.

"We suffered a great loss at Anfiled. But the match could end  5:5. I cannot remember another time that I had played in such a strong wind and rain. Our goal keeper Georgi Velinov kicked the ball ahead, and it fell somewhere near the penalty area. Tsvetan Yonchev scored the goal but me and Spas Zhevizov had our chances as well. The great football player Graeme Souness scored three times. The truth is that we lacked international experience. A year later the situation was totally different. We were a better team in every aspect. We were self-confident. We easily beat the other teams – not only in Bulgaria but abroad as well. The draw for the CEC was quite hard for us – we had to play against the Spanish champion  Real Sociedad . They had a team with ten national players with the goal keeper Arconada. When a Bulgarian team beats the first team in Spain it  is a heroic act not only at our time, but nowadays as well. In Sofia we played technically very correct. Yonchev scored a goal at the end of the match, but he hit his head in the goal post and had a concussion. Even as we celebrated the goal, we were very concerned about him. The ambulance took him to the hospital and we did not have any information about him. Fortunately, he recovered very fast. We were eager to play the second game in San Sebastian. I have not seen any other goal keeper to play in such a way as Georgi Velinov did. The Spaniards were like a hurricane. They had made the grass wet and surprised us. Quite a few of us were with rubber boots and slipped on the ground. Thanks to Velinov they could not score us. If we had one goal chance, the Real Sociedad side had ten. The match ended in a draw – 0:0.

Despite their strength, CSKA were close to fallout in the next round. They had to play against the Northern Irish  team of Glentoran. The first match is again in Sofia and CSKA wins with 2:0. “The easiness with which we had won, played a trick to us in the second game – continues Mladenov – We were totally confident that we would win there as well.  In Sofia the score had to be 5:0. But we had quite a hard time in Belfast. Glentoran made a lead with 2:0 and so eneded the normal time. We were confused and could easily acquire a third goal. Fortunately, Alyosha Dimitrov scored in the extra time and we went ahead. In all my coaching career I give this match as an example to my players. You must never underestimate your opponent, regardless of the score in the first match. In the draw all of us wanted only one thing – a revenge against the team of Liverpool. And fate gave it to us."

The epic quarterfinal against the team of Liverpool turns Stoycho Mladenov into one of the greatest Bulgarian football players. It had been unthinkable to win over Liverpool, let alone be it a Bulgarian side. CSKA lost in England 1:0. But in the second game won 2:0 – the two goals had been scored by Stoycho Mladenov. The game on 17 march 1982 is considered the greatest club football success.

"In contrast to last year, we had the international experience and the great desire to show Liverpool that we were not the weaker side- tells Mladenov – and what a team they were! Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish, Sammy Lee, Graeme Souness, Bruce Grobbelaar. There was not a team in England or in Europe that could beat them. The coach Nikodimov prepared us perfect for this match. In every moment we knew how Liverpoo would l play. Scouting had always played a significant role. We lost again in England, but not with 1:5  - the score was 0:1. CSKA had to be sorry for this game as well. We were equal in strength sides. But fate was on the side of Liverpool. It would not have been unfair for us to win in the first game. But maybe, that was an advantage for us as in the second game, our opponent thought they would continue ahead without any problems. The national stadium Vasil Levski was overcrowded, We did not surrender to emotions. We waited for our moment. The moment that would always be remembered. I was fortunate to score both goals, but the triumph was due to all of us who played and to those who supported us. Bulgaria has to be proud of this match. Not only the people who love CSKA. Before the game we had been on our training ground “Cherveno Zname”. There was a non-stop police control around it  so that we were protected by the supporters. At that time people changed a whole lamb for a ticket. Before the match I suffered from a headache, and I rarely had one. The massagers tried to help me, but nothing could ease my pain. At one moment I felt well, the  next one – it got worse as well. I could not train. But there was no way of me missing the game of my life. I thank God that I scored the goals – because of my colleagues, because of CSKA, because of Bulgaria. In the end 70 000 lit torches on the stands. All the foreign players who had played against CSKA had admitted that fact. Nobody went home from the stadium. The people sang and cheered. In the first goal Metodi Tomanov passed me the ball. I jumped and scored with a head. The goal gave us an impulse. And again we had to play extra time.  We did not want penalties. We knew that we had to score for 2:0. I will never forget how I stood behind the back of Spas Zhevizov and their central defender. Both of them jumped in front of me but could not touch the ball. Almost fallen to the ground, I eased the ball with my chest and scored a goal. This goal listed with golden letters the names of all of us in the history of CSKA. Some of were so proud that burst into tears after the games. We had won over the unbeaten side of Liverpool. While having a bath in the dressing room, some of my colleagues came to me and told me that I had to go out immediately. We had had a high-authority visit. They passed me a towel and I went . In the centre of the dressing room stood the minister of defense general Dobry Dzhurov. He shouted: “Congratulations, mayor Mladenov!”. I tried to correct him that I am a senior lieutenant. But he interrupted me: “You are already a captain!” Later all my colleagues acquired a higher rank. We received a small back-white TV set for the victory. It was a rarity at our time. We did not touch the ground after the match.  We were on receptions all the time. People stopped us on the streets wanting just to touch or hug us."

Fate had decided that CSKA should play against another of the best world teams  in the semi-finals  - Bayern. It was the last step of the march of the red team. Even after the loss, CSKA had a historic appearance. In the first match in Sofia CSKA won 4:3 , and up to the 18th minute the score was 3:0 for the red team. Stoycho Mladenov passed for two of the goals and won a penalty.

"We were stunned more than Bayern after leading 3:0 – continues Mladenov – the players, the coaches, the supporters could not believe what was happening. There had not been another team that could score 3 goals for 18 minutes to Bayern. The Germans started quarreling to each other on the pitch. Paul Breitner even went to the substitutes, pulled of his shirt and wished to be replaced. Then Bayern made a step that surprised us. Dieter Hoeness entered as a second central forward. Our mistake  was that we went back to defend the score. And we could have scored more goals. We went into the trap by  ourselves. Imagine – a Bulgarian side to score four times to  Bayern. We were very disciplined in the second game  and we had our chances. Up to the last minute of the first half there were not chances in front of our goal keeper. Then they scored us a goal from an offside. In the beginning of the second half the referee gave a very disputable penalty to Bayern. And as the result was 2:0 , all ended. In the final Bayern played against Aston Villa and lost. We were sure that if we had played against them, we would have won. For a period of two years we had collected enough victories over British teams. But for a small country as Bulgaria, we had made a great success. Although Bulgarians posed the biggest obstacles to us. Our managers wanted that the derby with Levski be postponed with one day because of the second game against Liverpool. But both the Bulgarian Football Union and Levski denied it. But they could not stop us. Before the match with Bayern our central forward Spas Zhevizov received a red card in the Bulgarian championship. And he was banned from playing against the German side. Unimaginable!"

In the first round of the second edition of the tournament of the champions CSKA had to play against the champion of a great football power – France. This time the opponent is Monaco with such players as Amoros, Girress, Genghini,. And again the name of the hero was Mladenov. He scored a goal for 2:0 in the second game in Sofia, after the first match had ended in a draw 0:0 in France.

" It may not sound modest, but CSKA did not have any problems in winning over Monaco – continues Mladenov – We did it next year in the tournament of the Cup of UEFA. Both times I scored. I will not forget that in the second time at a 2:2 in France I tried a trick, which could play a bad joke to us. In one pass to me, I pulled my hands upwards, pretending to hit the ball . I wanted to disconcert  their central forwards. But one of them pushed me and I touched the ball with a  hand. The referee pointed the penalty point, but Georgi Velinov saved the shot. I had never kissed a colleague so much."

One of the designers of this team of CSKA is the boss of the club – Nikola Milanov, more famous with his nickname – Chopera. “He was a great boss  - continues Mladenov – he knew when to criticize , when to make a speech, when to leave us some time for rest. He provided everything to us. When I was still banned, we were on a camp in Petrich. I did  not have the right to train with the team, but at that moment I ran with the others. Chopera had come to an inspection. When he saw me, he yelled “You have to make it up, you will run along the outer circle of the track, not on the inner one”. Before the victory over Lokomotiv (Pd) with 8:0 we had won  with the national team over Wales with 1:0. Before the game with the British side, I had a bad game  in the championship, but the match against Wales was one of my best performances for the national team. In the evening before the match against Lokomotiv, Chopera called me to come to him. I listened to a very thereatening speech. I wanted to run away from his room. I was furious on the pitch. When we were coming back to the dressing room, we were met by Chopera. He sarted laughing approvingly. Georgi Slavkov told him : “Comrade Dzhurov, you have to threaten Stoycho before every game!” And really, Chopera knew how to act in any situation."

Had it not been for the old regime, Mladenov, would have plated for one of the greatest teams in Europe. Word is that he has been wanted by such clubs as Liverpool, Monaco, Atletico, River Plate. But the regime was rough – nobody could play abroad. “When I went with the national team in the World Cup in Mexico  in 1986, representatives of River Plate came personally to me – remembers Mladenov – But the management of the Bulgarian football did not allow me. “   

Fate helped  Stoycho to miss one of the most scandalous games in Bulgarian football – the cup final against Levski in 1985. Then CSKA won 2:1, but the derby had been  marked by fights between the players on the field. Life bans to play were set to Hristo Stoichkov and Borislav Mihailov, and both teams are renamed to Sredets and Vitosha.
“Before the match we played against Botev  Vratsa and I suffered a hard injury – tells Mladenov – I do not remember how,  but I found a way to sit on the bench. The match was a draw, but there was a lot of fight. In that case our opponent is to be blamed for the fights. Plamen Nikolov made a foul against Radi Zdravkov. But he did not receive the red card. The provocations from the Levski side continued. I do not know what I woulkd have done if I was on the pitch. I go into tempers easily and maybe fate saved me that I did not play in this game."
As a CSKA star, and later on as a coach Stoycho Mladenov has always loved the derbies against Levski . One of them is historic. On 22 december 1985 CSKA wins over Levski on their stadium : Georgi Asparuhov” with Mladenov scoring twice and one of the new-coming star Liuboslav Penev.

"I will never forget the situation before the match – tells Stoycho – We had problems with the coach of the national team Ivan Vutsov. He had  ignored me in the last  matches. A world cup was approaching, and I wanted to be in the first team.  I said to myself that this was the moment to get my place back. I played one of my best matches against Levski. Liuboslav Penev played the central forward, and I was a left forward. Everything that I wanted on the field , happened. The Levski players changed in defending me, b t no one succeeded. It is something very special to score in such a match. And it is great when it happens on the opponent’s stadium ."
When Maldenov is 29 years old he puts an  end to his career as a CSKA player. The Portuguese manager Lucidio Ribeiro convinced  the club management that the moment had  come to make some money out of its star. "At that time we had never been told for how much money we had been sold. I still do not know for how much the Portuguese Belenenses bought me – continues Mladenov – From this moment started one of the best periods in my life, because Portugal is a place where people are truly devoted to football. Unfortunately, the end had come to a great CSKA team. After me, left Georgi Slavkov, Plamen Markov, Georgi Dimitrov, Spas Zhevizov, Tsvetan Yonchev. But this was a start for the new generation that replaced us in a decent way – that of Hristo Stoichkov, Liuboslav Penev and Emil Kostadinov."

Despite the victories over Levski, Stoych Mladenov wonover two of their players in the competition for best football player of Bulgaria in 1983. After hum are the great players of Levski – Borislav Mihaylov and Bozhidar Iskrenov. The award ceremony took place on the national stadium “Vasil Levski”in the “Sport Meeting” restaurant. Where Stoyho received a painting. “The competition among the players of CSKA, Levski and the others, was great – tells Stoycho – to be the №1 football player of Bulgaria is a true recognition and of the worthiest in my life."