Yordan Letchkov (born July 9, 1967 in Sliven) was an argumentative balding Bulgarian midfielder who became an unlikely hero of World Cup 1994.
Talented playmaker Letchkov was nicknamed ‘The Magician’ during his career due to his magical skill on the ball and because he looked a bit like Paul Daniels. Along with the likes of Hristo Stoichkov, Krassimir Balakov, Borislav Mikhailov and Trifon Ivanov he formed part of Bulgaria’s Golden Generation.
At the 1994 World Cup in the USA, Bulgaria stunned anyone from outside the host nation by reaching the semi-finals. En route to the final four, Bulgaria saw off Germany 2-1 with Letchkov scoring the winner and writing his name into football folklore.
The seemingly middle-aged midfielder also played well at Euro 96, but his career was derailed somewhat by his irritable nature.
He was ruled out of World Cup 1998 by coach Hristo Bonev who admitted to being scared of the tempestuous talent and a potential move to Serie A giants Inter broke down at the negotiation table when Letchkov threw breadsticks at a waiter who had brought the wrong starter.
These days Letchkov owns his own chain of luxury hotels and runs a soccer school.
Letchkov was balding and had a silly little patch of hair between his main tufts. This made him look like he was middle-aged at World Cup ’94 when in fact he was only 27.