May 30 2003
Balakov says goodbye: Children from the SOS Children's Villages join the party
Gala with 42,000 spectators in aid of SOS Children's Villages in Bulgaria
30/05/2003 - Gifted midfielder Krassimir Balakov gave prominent place to the SOS Children's Villages of his native Bulgaria at his farewell gala held at the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium in Stuttgart/Germany on 29 May. The proceeds of the farewell match amounted to some 70,000 Euros.
Balakov has finished his active career on the pitch. At his farewell gala in Stuttgart he announced that he will continue to support both football and the SOS Children's Villages in Bulgaria with all of his heart. "I will never forget where I came from", Balakov said, talking about his native country Bulgaria where he started playing football in the streets and where many people still live in great poverty. One of the two Bulgarian SOS Children's Villages is located close to Balakov's place of birth, Tarnovo. The managing director of Hermann-Gmeiner-Fonds Deutschland e.V., Georg Wielleit, pointed out at Balakov's farewell party that "Bala" visits the SOS Children's Village nearly every time he is on holiday in Bulgaria: "Krassimir Balakov does not only stand up for SOS Children's Villages in public, but with his visits he also gives the children immense self-confidence. Balakov is an idol at the SOS Children's Village, just as he is in the stadium."
At the farewell match several world-famous football stars met: The two Brazilians Bebeto and Carlos Dunga as well as the Bulgarian team mates Jordan Letchkov and Trifon Ivanov joined the game. Balakov's "All-Star-Team" won 8-7 against a team of VfB Stuttgart, in which former footballers like Fredi Bobic also played.
That afternoon, everybody from the stadium speaker to the Bulgarian president complimented "Bala" on his passionate commitment not only to football but also to SOS Children's Villages. Balakov was delighted about the successful gala and said "I thank everybody who is here today". Among the spectators there were children from several SOS Children's Village facilities in southern Germany. Balakov had invited them personally to come to Stuttgart.