February 2, 2010 / 4:29 PM / 8 years ago

Bulgaria soccer star's broken English a YouTube hit

SOFIA (Reuters Life!) - An interview with Bulgarian soccer star Hristo Stoichkov in broken English has gained wild popularity on the Internet among fellow countrymen and inspired a rap singer to post a song about it on video website YouTube.

Ivan Ivanov's song "Tu parts" contains phrases taken from an English language interview the former national team striker gave to a South African journalist. The interview has been posted on YouTube and is gaining rapid popularity in Bulgaria. (here)

"Sometimes lyun (instead of lose), sometimes win" or "too much peoples come only for the pass the time" are some of the soccer-great-turned-coach's expressions bringing smiles to the faces of Bulgarian fans.

Stoichkov, now coach of South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, has been a fan favorite at home and is the only Bulgarian ever named European Footballer of the Year (1994). He is also widely considered to be Bulgaria's most popular export.

"I just don't care," Stoichkov told Trud daily when asked about his English language skills. "I can speak Spanish and use a translator but I prefer to do it by myself, with or without mistakes."

Ivanov, who studies economics and is known as DJ Vann, said he had enormous respect for Stoichkov.

"I didn't make it to offend him, that's for sure" Ivanov told Reuters. "I just liked the way he did it, with such zeal, despite knowing that his English is not brilliant."

Ivanov said he was keen on getting permission from Stoichkov to commercially release "Tu parts" after loading it on YouTube. (here)

Two years ago, Bulgaria grabbed worldwide attention after Valentina Hasan performed "Ken Lee," a garbled interpretation of Mariah Carey's song "Without You" as a contestant in the domestic TV show Music Idol.

The video received over 13 million views on YouTube and inspired many around the world to create their own parodies and remixes of Ken Lee.

It is not the first time Stoichkov's name has enjoyed popularity in the world of music. A Dutch rock band named itself after him and toured Bulgarian towns several years ago.

Stoichkov won the hearts of Bulgarians for being instrumental in leading their national team to the semi-finals at the 1994 World Cup in the United States -- the Balkan country's biggest achievement in its soccer history.

Known as "The Dagger" in Bulgaria, the flamboyant Stoichkov was also well known in his playing days for his aggressive manner on the field, often arguing with referees and other players.

Editing by Paul Casciato

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