Aleksandar Blagov Tunchev (Bulgarian: Александър Тунчев; born 10 July 1981 in Pazardzhik) is a Bulgarian former footballer who played as a defender. He is currently assistant coach of Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
Tunchev in 2018
|Full name||Aleksandar Blagov Tunchev|
|Date of birth||10 July 1981|
|Place of birth||Pazardzhik, Bulgaria|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position(s)||Centre back|
|Lokomotiv Plovdiv (assistant)|
|2000||→ Iskar Sofia (loan)||15||(1)|
|2011||→ Crystal Palace (loan)||9||(0)|
|2016–||Lokomotiv Plovdiv (assistant)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Tunchev started his career in his hometown of Pazardzhik with local team Hebar. After that he played for Belasitsa Petrich, later joining Lokomotiv Plovdiv in June 2002. With Lokomotiv they became Champions of Bulgaria in 2004 and also won the Bulgarian Super Cup that same year. In 2006, he signed for CSKA Sofia. In 2007, he was appointed captain after Valentin Iliev was stripped of the CSKA captaincy. They were crowned champions in 2008, and also won the Bulgarian Cup and Supercup in 2006. In June 2008, CSKA was in a deep financial crisis and were forced to sell their key players, including Tunchev.
Tunchev joined Leicester City on 5 July 2008 for a fee of £375,000, signing a three-year contract. He made his debut in a 2–0 home win over MK Dons on 9 August 2008, scoring his first league goal in a 2–2 home draw against Walsall on 21 October. Tunchev was peerless as he guided the club's defence through the first half of the 2008–09 season, losing just two league games.
His season was cut short when he suffered a partial tear of his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a 2–1 FA Cup replay defeat to Crystal Palace on 14 January 2009. It was Tunchev's "first big injury," his previous being a pulled hamstring. Nonetheless, he was awarded a medal after Leicester finished the season as League One champions, winning promotion to the Championship.
On 20 July 2009, Tunchev was back in full training after recovering from injury. He played his first game a day later as a substitute in a pre-season friendly against Mansfield Town. He made his first competitive appearance in a 2–1 League Cup defeat to Preston North End on 25 August. However, he suffered an injury to his left knee in a 2–1 defeat to Preston on 26 September. Tunchev had managed two league games before undergoing another operation on his right knee on 30 September. Restricted to crutches ever since, he returned to the training ground in early October for his rehabilitation. It was thought that Tunchev could return to training in November. Then-manager Nigel Pearson however, refused to rush him back into the first team, instead wanting him to be "absolutely spot on" before returning. Suffering several setbacks during rehabilitation, Tunchev flew to Barcelona, Spain in early February 2010 to see the specialist who originally treated his injury problem. He returned to England after undergoing the last of a series of injections to his knee in the hope of avoiding another operation. On 4 February 2010, Pearson said it was unlikely Tunchev would play again in the 2009–10 season. He was ruled out for six months after undergoing another knee operation on 2 March 2010.
Return to fitnessEdit
Tunchev made his return against San Jose Earthquakes in a behind-closed-doors friendly on 24 February 2011 at Belvoir Drive. He played for 65 minutes before being substituted. He finally played his first competitive game since September 2009 in a 4–2 win over Watford on 25 April 2011, albeit as a substitute during stoppage time. On 7 May 2011, Tunchev came on as a 30th-minute substitute in a 4–2 win over Ipswich Town, the final game of the 2010–11 season as Leicester finished in 10th place. By this time, he had played only five games in two seasons as a result of his two knee injuries.
Loan to Crystal PalaceEdit
After a successful pre-season with Leicester City, on 5 August 2011 Tunchev signed a one-year contract extension which was set to expire in 2012 and was sent originally on a month's loan to Crystal Palace, though this was later extended to a 3-month loan. Tunchev made 10 appearances in total in his brief stint at Palace.
Return to LeicesterEdit
Tunchev returned to Leicester after his loan spell at Crystal Palace had come to an end, with Nigel Pearson, who originally brought him to England having returned to manage the Foxes. After a couple of months of trying to prove his fitness following a further groin injury, Pearson recalled Tunchev to the first team on 2 January 2012 to face the Crystal Palace side he had been on loan with earlier in the season. Leicester won the game 2–1. Tunchev was released by the club on 19 May 2012 after failing to do enough to earn an extension to his contract.
In the summer of 2012, Tunchev was also on trial with Ludogorets Razgrad, catching the eye of then manager Ivaylo Petev, but the Razgrad team eventually decided against offering him a contract. In September 2012, Tunchev joined Polish Ekstraklasa side Zagłębie Lubin as defensive cover, following injuries to other players. He signed for an initial one-year period, with the option of a second year.
Return to BulgariaEdit
Tunchev currently plays for Bulgaria. He made his debut in a 3–1 win over Turkey on 18 August 2005, playing for six minutes. The defender has been a regular for the Bulgarian team since making his official debut against Romania in a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying match. On 11 October 2006, Tunchev scored his first international goal in a 1–0 away win over Luxembourg during a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying match. In November 2014, he was recalled to the national side for a Euro 2016 qualifier against Malta after a long absence from international duty, but remained on the bench.
- As of 4 September 2009.
|1||11 October 2006||Luxembourg City, Luxembourg||Luxembourg||1–0||Win||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
- "Aleksandar Tunchev". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- "Българите с половин сантиметър по-високи" (in Bulgarian). 7sport.net. 1 September 2011. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Локомотив стартира с 28 футболисти" (in Bulgarian). lokomotivpd.com. 20 June 2016.
- Alexandar Tunchev profile, Leicester Mercury, archived from the original on 17 January 2010, retrieved 25 January 2010
- "Bulgarian Tunchev Joins Leicester". BBC Sport. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Leicester 2–2 Walsall". BBC Sport. 21 October 2008. Retrieved 19 February 2009.
- "Tunchev is out for rest of season". BBC Sport. 16 January 2009. Archived from the original on 19 January 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2009.
- "Aleksandar Tunchev set for Leicester City return". Leicester Mercury. 21 July 2009. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Tunchev Boost". Leicester City FC. 20 July 2009. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Foxes Held at Field Mill". Leicester City FC. 22 July 2009. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Preston 2–1 Leicester". BBC Sport. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
- "Leicester 1–2 Preston". BBC Sport. 26 September 2009. Archived from the original on 28 January 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
- "Aleksandar Tunchev's operation mars Leicester City's joy". Leicester Mercury. 30 September 2009. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Leicester City hopeful of extending striker's loan deal". Leicester Mercury. 4 December 2009. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Nigel Pearson happy with Leicester City's progress". Leicester Mercury. 8 October 2009. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Aleksandar Tunchev and Stephen Clemence must be 'spot on' before returning, says Nigel Pearson". Leicester Mercury. 26 November 2009. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- Tunchev flies to Spain in bid to save season, Leicester Mercury, 3 February 2010, archived from the original on 6 February 2010, retrieved 3 February 2010
- "Leicester City's Aleksandar Tunchev may need further knee operation". Leicester Mercury. 6 February 2010. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Tunchev set to miss end of season for Leicester City". BBC Sport. 4 February 2010. Archived from the original on 7 February 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
- "Aleksandar Tunchev out for six months". Leicester Mercury. 5 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- Tunchev takes another step along comeback trail Leicester Mercury, 25 February 2011
- "Leicester's Aleksandar Tunchev in contention for Forest". BBC Sport. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Leicester 4–2 Watford". BBC Sport. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Leicester 4 – 2 Ipswich". BBC Sport. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
- "Aleksandar Tunchev to discover Leicester City fate". BBC Sport. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- "Tunchev Agrees Terms". Leicester City FC. 5 September 2011. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Aleksandar Tunchev extends loan with Crystal Palace". thisisleicestershire.co.uk. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- "Crystal Palace 2011/12 Squad Statistics". ESPN FC. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Tunchev back in the frame". Orange. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Crystal Palace vs Leicester City". Leicester City FC. 2 January 2012. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Leicester City release Vassell, Howard, Oakley, Weale, Tunchev and Chamberlain". Leicester Mercury. 19 May 2012. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- "Петев освободи Тунчев, "Локо" (Пд) се интересуваше от защитника". Topsport (in Bulgarian). 6 July 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Reprezentant Bułgarii Aleksandyr Tunczew piłkarzem Zagłębia Lubin". Lubin Extra (in Polish). 14 October 2012. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- "Тунчев и Колев се върнаха в Локо (Пд), засега защитникът само ще тренира с тима". Topsport (in Bulgarian). 24 June 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Тунчев се разбра бързо с ЦСКА, подписа за година, ЦСКА направи първи трансфер през летния прозорец". Topsport (in Bulgarian). 22 May 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- "Официално: Тунчев отново стана футболист" (in Bulgarian). sport.plovdiv24.bg. 14 February 2017.
- "Войн Войнов: Градим отбор, който да радва феновете ни" (in Bulgarian). lokomotivpd.com. 15 June 2017.
| CSKA Sofia Captain