Georgi Asparuhov in 1969
|Full name||Georgi Asparuhov Rangelov|
|Date of birth||4 May 1943|
|Place of birth||Sofia, Bulgaria|
|Date of death||30 June 1971 28)(aged|
|Place of death||Vitinya Pass, Bulgaria|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Georgi Asparuhov Rangelov (Bulgarian : Георги Аспарухов Рангелов; 4 May 1943 – 30 June 1971), nicknamed Gundi, was a Bulgarian footballer who played as a striker.
A prolific forward of his generation, Asparuhov was renowned for his finishing, technique and heading ability. He was voted the best Bulgarian footballer of the 20th centuryand Europe's 40th best player of the century, a position shared with Paolo Rossi. Asparuhov was also nominated for the 1965 Ballon d'Or award, finishing eighth in the final standings.
In international football, Asparuhov made his Bulgaria debut on 6 May 1962 at the age of 19. He made 49 appearances in total, appearing at three FIFA World Cup tournaments, in 1962, 1966 and 1970, and scoring 18 goals.
Asparuhov's career was cut short in 1971 at the age of 28 when he died in a vehicle accident. Levski Sofia's stadium is named in his honour.
Asparuhov began his senior career at Levski Sofia in the end of 1959–60 season at the age of 17. He made his debut on 5 June 1960 in a 1–0 home loss against Lokomotiv Sofia, coming on as a second-half substitute.His first senior goal came during the following campaign when he scored in a 1–1 away draw against Botev Plovdiv on 28 September 1960.
In January 1962, Asparuhov joined Botev Plovdiv where he won 1961–62 Bulgarian Cup a few months later. On 13 September 1962, he marked his European debut away at Steaua București with two goals, but Botev lost the game 3–2 in their preliminary round first leg tie of 1962–63 Cup Winners' Cup. A week later, in the second leg of Botev's European tie against Steaua, Asparuhov scored his first-ever hat-trick in a resounding 5–1 home victory. He also scored in a 4–0 away win over Shamrock Rovers on 24 October 1962 and became a top scorer of the tournament with 6 goals.
In October 1963, Asparuhov returned to Levski Sofia.
Widely regarded as Levski's greatest ever player, Asparuhov played over 230 games for the club, winning three Bulgarian League titles and three Bulgarian Cups. During his time at the club he won the Bulgarian footballer of the year and Bulgarian sportsperson of the year in 1965.
Asparuhov is Levski's third all-time leading goal scorer (153). In 1964–65 season he became the league's top scorer with 27 goals in 29 matches.
Some of the top European clubs at the time sought his services. In the 1965–66 European Cup, Levski played Benfica (with Eusébio in the squad). When Benfica eliminated Levski after hard-fought 3:2 and 2:2 scorelines and Gundi having netted 3 of all Levski goals (one of them Simo Nikolov), Europe began to view Gundi with interest. In fact, he was the first player to score two goals in Benfica's stadium. The Portuguese club, as well as Itaian giants AC Milan, wanted to buy Asparuhov, but the communist government of Bulgaria did not allow them to do so.
To AC Milan's emissary, regarding their offer, he answered that way:
"Tell them that there is a country named Bulgaria. In that country there is a team named Levski, you might not have heard of it. But I was born in this team and I will die in this team."
Asparuhov made his debut for the Bulgarian national team in a friendly match against Austria at Praterstadion in Vienna on 6 May 1962and was named in the 22-man Bulgarian squad for the 1962 FIFA World Cup. He made his World Cup debut in the second group game against Hungary at Estadio Braden Copper Co. in Rancagua on 3 June 1962.
Asparuhov scored his first goals for Bulgaria on 7 November 1962, scoring twice in a 3–1 home victory over Portugal in a 1964 European Nations' Cup qualifying match.Then he top scored for Bulgaria in their 1966 World Cup qualifying campaign with five goals. During the World Cup he scored Bulgaria's only goal in a 1–3 loss against Hungary at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Asparuhov died in a car crash in 1971 with teammate Nikola Kotkov. Over 550,000 people gathered at his funeral in Sofia.The present stadium of Levski Sofia is named Georgi Asparuhov Stadium in honour of the famous striker.
|1.||7 November 1962||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia||1–1||3–1||1964 European Nations' Cup Qualification|
|3.||6 January 1963||August 20, 1955 Stadium, Belouizdad||1–0||1–2||Friendly|
|4.||23 January 1963||Stadio Olimpico, Rome||1–0||1–0||1964 European Nations' Cup Qualification|
|5.||13 June 1965||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia||3–0||4–0||1966 World Cup Qualification|
|6.||26 September 1965||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia||2–0||3–0||1966 World Cup Qualification|
|7.||21 November 1965||Ramat Gan Stadium, Ramat Gan||2–1||2–1||1966 World Cup Qualification|
|8.||29 December 1965||Stadio Comunale, Florence||1–0||2–1||1966 World Cup Qualification|
|10.||14 June 1966||Stadio Comunale, Bologna||1–2||1–6||Friendly|
|11.||20 July 1966||Old Trafford, Manchester||1–0||1–3||1966 World Cup|
|12.||12 November 1967||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia||3–0||3–0||Euro 1968 Qualification|
|13.||27 October 1968||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia||2–0||2–0||1970 World Cup Qualification|
|14.||11 December 1968||Wembley, London||1–0||1–1||Friendly|
|15.||23 April 1969||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia||1–0||2–1||1970 World Cup Qualification|
|17.||15 June 1969||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia||4–1||4–1||1970 World Cup Qualification|
|18.||24 February 1970||Estadio Nacional del Perú, Lima||2–3||3–5||Friendly|
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