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The Truth Behind The 1990 Golden Boot Award

Now that everyone is busy talking about Barcelona and Real Madrid’s defeat at the hands of the Germans, lets take a moment to look back at the truth behind the 1990 Golden boot winner.

One of the most prestigious awards in European football is the European Golden Shoe. It has been previously known as the European Golden boot and the award was formed in 1968. For strikers across Europe this was the award that so many of them desperately craved as it gave them a lot of recognition across not only Europe but the world of football.

The award was presented by a French magazine, L’Equipe from 1968 to 1991 before the awards system started to become questioned. The award was purely based on the top goal scorer in all of the leagues across Europe, no matter how recognised the league was, it was purely based on who ever scored the most goals in a domestic season. This was eventually changed in the 1996 – 1997 season when the group, European Sports Media elected to take over as the main sponsor of the European Golden Shoe and decided to update the system of how the award was earned.

hristo stoichkov

They have now put in place a ranking points system which multiples the goals scored by a player by their respective countries placing in the UEFA coefficients. This therefore placed a lot more emphasis of the standard in the top European leagues: England, Italy, Spain, Germany and France.

The award was brought into dispute for the first time in 1990 which for the first time since its inception in 1968 brought two players who scored the same amount of goals in the 1989 – 1990 season. Hugo Sanchez of Real Madrid scored 38 goals in 38 games whilst Hristo Stoichkov scored 38 goals in 24 games. However, despite having a far superior goal to game ratio, the European Golden Shoe award was shared between the two players which would’ve understandably brought a lot of frustration out of the Bulgarian forward, Hristo Stoichkov who was already known for being quite controversial.

Hristo Stoichkov was quite well known for expressing his thoughts without a moment’s hesitation for processing through his mind whether it was the right thing to say. Whether he is cursing the Vatican one day and then talking about his relationship with the iconic Argentine footballer, Maradona and ephedrine doping, Stoichkov always had something to say.

However, Hristo Stoichkov was relatively calm about the sharing of the Golden Boot award in 1990 and he simply stated how he was happy to share the award with another gifted footballer. There were claims for either player, Stoichkov with the better goal ratio than Hugo Sanchez but then a lot of people will question the standard of the Bulgarian league where Stoichkov scored his 38 goals for CSKA Sofia.

In an interview with the Bulgarian media, Stoichkov went on to say, “”I was going to go to Spain and everyone could think that the Bulgarians were a corrupt, we killed Hugo Sánchez with match fixing. And I thought what the hell. Also, why can not a fellow Golden Boot, what the hell I care about Real Madrid, do I still give the other teams? Hugo and I were partners, because this is for life. “

A very bold and opinionated Stoichkov speaking in 1990 but within a couple of months he moved from CSKA Sofia where he had just scored 38 goals in 24 games and moved to Spain with Real Madrid rivals, Barcelona! He carried on his scoring prowess as he notched 77 goals in 151 games for Barcelona and won the Spanish La Liga title 4 years running, including the European Cup in 1992. During his spell at the club he became Barcelona’s most popular player and had overtaken Hugo Sanchez by now as the star of the league. Although it is fair to say that by this time Hugo Sanchez had enjoyed his best years whilst Hristo Stoichkov was in his mid twenties and in the peak of his well established career.

Only the man known as ‘El Pistolero’ will truly know whether he was content with sharing the 1990 European Golden boot award with the Mexican forward, Hugh Sanchez but he gave us a great incite in the interview with the Bulgarian media shortly after receiving the award. “But honestly, I was happy that someone else could have the Golden Boot And Hugo knows, we talk many times.” Not many people would want to disagree with Hristo Stoichkov as no doubt he wouldn’t hesitate in voicing his own opinions so I think we may just have to settle for believing that Hristo Stoichkov was happy to share the 1990 Golden Boot Award.