Friday 20 April 2018

Barcelona legend sparks outrage after posing with dead safari animals

Hristo Stoichkov has been slammed for posing with dead animals in Africa
Hristo Stoichkov has been slammed for posing with dead animals in Africa

Callum Davis

Hristo Stoichkov has prompted outrage from animal rights campaigners after posing alongside dead safari animals.

The Ballon D'Or winner is regarded as one Europe's greatest modern players, playing a pivotal part in Johan Cruyff's mid-90s Barcelona side, dubbed the 'Dream Team.'

Photos of the 50-year-old emerged earlier this week on the website of Mebenca safari park, located in the north of South Africa.

The former Bulgaria international is seen kneeling besides a variety of dead animals, including zebra, giraffes and wildebeests.

In one photo Stoichkov is pictured  holding a rifle whilst the neck of a dead giraffe is draped across his neck.

According to Bulgarian media, Stoichkov was responsible for the deaths of the animals pictured.

Stoichkov is pictured alongside a variety of dead animals

It is unclear when the pictures of the 50-year-old were originally taken and a number of the photos featuring Stoichkov have since been removed.

Despite enjoying hero-status in his native country, the former Bulgaria captain has been criticised for his involvement in big-game hunting by animal rights campaigners.

Stoichkov poses with a dead zebra

"For us he is a legend, but what he has done in Africa is sad and barbaric," Stella Reicheva of the Bulgarian Animal Rescue organisation told the Daily Mail.

The photos received widespread condemnation on social media.

The forward finished the 1994 World Cup as the tournament's joint-top goalscorer as Bulgaria went on to finish third in the USA.

Nicknamed 'The Dagger,' the former Barca marksman was renowned for his infamous off-the-field temper.

In 1985, whilst playing at CSKA Sofia, Stoichkov received a three-month ban after sparking a mass-brawl in the final of the Bulgarian Cup against Levski Spartak.

In his debut season at Barcelona under the late Johan Cruyff, the Bulgarian was again suspended, this time for two months, after he remonstrated with a dubious refereeing decision by stamping on his foot.

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