Clubs: PFC CSKA Sofia, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Manchester United FC
UEFA Champions League: runner-up 2002, 2009
• Born in the provincial Bulgarian town of Blagoevgrad, he was spotted and recruited by CSKA, for whom he made his first-team debut at 18 and went on to star both at home and in Europe, winning the Bulgarian Cup in 1999.
• Moved to Leverkusen in January 2001 and played in the UEFA Champions League final − a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid CF − in his first full season. Joined Tottenham for the start of 2006/07 on the back of successive 20-goal campaigns.
• Scored 23 goals in all competitions in each of his two years at Tottenham before United broke their transfer record to lure him to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day in September 2008; endured mixed fortunes in his first season and was only a substitute for the UEFA Champions League final loss to FC Barcelona.
• First capped by Bulgaria as an 18-year-old in November 1999, he completed a decade of service for his country with two goals in a November 2009 friendly against Malta, taking his tally to a record 48; announced his retirement from international football in May 2010 having won 78 caps
• Struck a hat-trick − featuring a brilliant overhead kick − against Liverpool FC early in 2010/11, his last goals before he scored five times in a 7-1 defeat of Blackburn Rovers FC on 27 November. Voted Bulgarian footballer of the year for a record seventh time the following month and ended the campaign as the Premier League's 21-goal top scorer alongside Carlos Tévez.
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