Football is religion for this small country. Throughout its communist times, the Bulgarian nation managed to preserve its nationality and freedom exactly through supporting the country’s favourite football club – Levski Sofia named after the apostle of Bulgarian freedom from Ottoman rule, established in 1914. Known under many different names throughout the years, broken down and dissolved in an attempt to subdue the enthusiasm and empower the communist motto «If you’re not with us, you are against us» and stomp on the basic human rights to support a team they love, Levski Sofia football club has managed to perservere and come out on top in today’s society. It has won 26 Bulgarian Championship titles, only beaten by its rival CSKA Sofia. Famous football icons such as Gundi and Gonzo who played internationally have captained the team and have taken it to worldwide fame. Gerena stadium is the main stadium of Levski Stadium with capacity of 19,000.
The other mostly supported Bulgarian team is CSKA Sofia. Its history is a little different to Levski’s as they were the Army’s team in the past – supported by the government in power and managed by the very same. Considering they have won 31 title in the shorter history, founded in 1934, it is only fair to consider the fact that during communist times they were pushed to victories in order to maintain the control of the governing party by proving to the ordinary citizen that the leading party is the almighty powerful tool that is to lead them. If we put that aside, CSKA has provided one of the top quality footballers on a worldwide level, including Hristo Stoichkov and Dimitar Berbatov, one playing for Barcelona, reaching 4th place with Bulgarian national team and winning the Golden Ball award and the other playing for top clubs like Tottenham, Manchester United and Monaco and winning the Champions League, respectively. CSKA Sofia has a great academy for youngsters and is known to promote young footballers and develop them to become great professionals.
The most famous, risen to infamousy football club recently is Ludogoretz. It’s owner is Kiril Domuschiev, a wealthy businessman that funds the club and supplies it with a budget nearly 5 times as large as the second to it in terms of finance. Their main strategy is to acquire footballers from abroad, primarily African regions and Brazil and use them to dominate in the local championship. Results speak for themselves, Ludogoretz has been a champion for the past 4 years since it emerged in the Group A of the Bulgarian football league. They played in the Champions League groups last year narrowly losing to Liverpool and Real Madrid and beating Basel on home turf. The team resembles Manchester City and Real Madrid in terms of management and is the top club in Bulgaria at the moment.
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