Romania's Gheorghe Hagi and Hristo Stoichkov of Bulgaria are widely regarded as their respective country's finest all-time footballers. That is not where the parity ends. They were born in Eastern Europe, in neighbouring countries, just one year and three days apart, and both radiated for esteemed clubs and on the most prestigious stage of all at the FIFA World Cup™.
FIFA.com, however, wants you to separate them by deciding which of these icons was the greater player.
Hagi's career began in his homeland and, between 1987 and 1990, he inspired Steaua Bucharest to three league titles and the European Super Cup. He would later represent Real Madrid, Brescia, Barcelona and Galatasaray, whom he inspired to a series of honours before hanging up his boots in 2001. Beforehand, the attacking midfielder scored 35 goals in 125 appearances for Romania, and graced three FIFA World Cups with his exceptional dribbles, vision, execution of pass and shots from distance.
Stoichkov, a forward of rare ingenuity and assured finishes, seized a collection of domestic titles and the European Golden Shoe with CSKA Sofia, before leaving for Barcelona, where he formed an integral part of Johan Cruyff's all-conquering ‘Dream Team'. He found the target 37 times in 83 caps for Bulgaria, memorably propelling them into the semi-finals at USA 1994 and ending the competition as its joint-leading marksman.
So, it's over to you: who was the greater player, Hagi or Stoichkov? Click 'Add your comment' to make your opinion known, remembering to keep your posts clean, respectful and in English.