Krasimir Genchev Balakov (Bulgarian: Красимир Балъков, pronounced [krɐsiˈmir ˈbaɫɤkof]; born 29 March 1966) is a Bulgarian former footballer turned manager who manages the Bulgarian national team. A former attacking midfielder, he was a key member of the Bulgarian national team that finished fourth in the 1994 FIFA World Cup. After Hristo Stoichkov, he is considered the greatest Bulgarian footballer of his generation.
Balakov in 2014
|Full name||Krasimir Genchev Balakov|
|Date of birth||29 March 1966|
|Place of birth||Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|2003–2005||VfB Stuttgart (assistant)|
|2005||VFC Plauen (player-manager)|
|2012||1. FC Kaiserslautern|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Balakov began his club career at the local Etar Veliko Tarnovo, before transferring to Portugal's Sporting Clube de Portugal in 1990, playing alongside future Ballon D'Or recipient Luís Figo, his compatriot Yordanov, and future two-time Champions League winner Paulo Sousa. Though Sporting had a quality squad, Balakov only managed to win the 1994–95 Portuguese Cup during his time at the club. Today, fans still remember him as an exceptional player. In 1995, he transferred to Germany's VfB Stuttgart where he won two UEFA Intertoto Cups (2000 and 2002) and a DFB-Pokal (1997), before retiring in 2003 - the same year that he called time on an international career which had spanned 15 years and 92 caps. As an attacking midfielder Balakov formed a successful attacking partnership with strikers Fredi Bobic and Giovane Élber at Stuttgart. The trio were known as the "magic triangle". He was voted as Stuttgart's best player of all time. He stayed at Stuttgart until retiring as a player in 2003, although he did make a comeback as a player two years later when he made a single appearance as player-manager of VFC Plauen.
The year after he retired, Krasimir became assistant coach of the club he had just retired from, VfB Stuttgart. He stayed in this position for two years before deciding to become a player-manager at VFC Plauen, where he remained for just a short time.
He had been appointed on 16 January 2006 as a manager of Grasshopper Club Zürich to replace Hanspeter Latour who left for 1. FC Köln. Balakov managed to win the Intertoto Cup thus qualified the club to the UEFA Cup for 2006–07 season.
In December 2008, he became manager of PFC Chernomorets Burgas in his homeland, taking over from Dimitar Dimitrov, after also having considered an offer to coach the national team of his country. On 6 December 2010, he was released from PFC Chernomorets Burgas after mutual consent, following a change in the long-term vision for the club by the owner Mitko Sabev.
On 22 March 2012, Balakov was appointed the manager of 1. FC Kaiserslautern. He was sacked on 17 May 2012, after being unable to prevent Kaiserslautern's relegation to the 2. Bundesliga. He subsequently continued his career as manager in his country.
Balakov made 92 appearances for Bulgaria, between 1988 and 2003 (one of the best totals in national history) and scored 16 goals. Other than the 1994 FIFA World Cup, he also played for his country at Euro 1996 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup. At age 37 he played in the qualifications for Euro 2004 to help his teammates qualify but retired from football before the final stage in Portugal.
- As of 23 May 2019
|Grasshopper Club Zürich||16 January 2006||21 May 2007||Swiss Super League||53||19||18||16||35.85||71||54||+17|
|Chernomorets Burgas||14 December 2008||6 December 2010||Bulgarian A Professional Football Group||60||29||16||15||48.33||79||54||+25|
|Hajduk Split||31 May 2011||22 March 2012||Prva HNL||22||13||5||4||59.09||42||17||+25|
|1. FC Kaiserslautern||22 March 2012||17 May 2012||Bundesliga||8||1||0||7||12.50||7||18||–11|
|Litex Lovech||27 May 2014||11 July 2015||Bulgarian A Professional Football Group||31||16||6||9||51.61||49||32||+17|
|Etar Veliko Tarnovo||4 January 2018||Present||First Professional Football League||52||24||10||18||46.15||65||56||+9|
- Portuguese Cup: 1995
- DFB-Pokal: 1996–97
- UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2000, 2002
- DFB-Ligapokal finalist: 1997, 1998
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup finalist: 1997–98
- Bundesliga runner-up: 2002–03
- FIFA World Cup fourth place: 1994
- Stevenson, Jonathan (2 September 2010). "Bulgarians remain in shadow of class of '94". BBC.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Krassimir Balakov neuer Cheftrainer" (in German). fcsg.ch. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
- "Балъков между Бургас и националния отбор. Бившият играч на Щутгарт преговаря с Черноморец". 7sport.net. 11 December 2008. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- "Красимир Балъков се раздели с Черноморец (Бургас)". burgas-top.com (in Bulgarian). 8 December 2010. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- Jurišić, Bernard (27 May 2011). "Krasimir Balakov novi trener Hajduka". Sportnet.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- "Balakov više nije trener Hajduka". hajduk.hr (in Croatian). Hajduk Split. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
- "Aus für Balakov nach 57 Tagen". Die Rheinpfalz (in German). 18 May 2012. Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- "Революция в Търново: Балъков е новият мениджър на Етър, Генчев остава, Деко е аут". sportal.bg (in Bulgarian). 4 January 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
- "Bundesliga Historie 1995/96" (in German). kicker.
- "Bundesliga Historie 1996/97" (in German). kicker.
- "Bundesliga Historie 1997/98" (in German). kicker.
- Leme de Arruda, Marcelo (20 October 2015). "FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info". RSSSF. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
| Bulgaria captain