For more than a year, Hristo Stoichkov and Dimitar Rachkov have been the faces with whom Bulgarian viewers most often associate the WINBET brand and are the main characters in most of the company’s advertising campaigns. But if anyone thinks that a commercial featuring two celebrities with so much experience in front of the camera shouldn’t be a particularly difficult task and take a lot of time, it’s not at all.
The first challenge is that these are really busy people. At the end of September, Hristo Stoichkov crossed the Atlantic three times in four days in order to fulfill all his commitments and still be on time for the filming of the WINBET commercial. Dimitar Rachkov literally left the studio where he was filming the new season of his show and entered the truck-dressing room, where the team of the advertising agency Brigada & Co. had to prepare him very quickly for his participation in the filming. “Very fast” in this case means about 90 minutes.
After which both of them awaited long hours of preparation for pictures (“Give me more snow!”), make-up, countless takes of individual phrases and gestures (“We’ll do it again – some dog appeared in the frame!”), make-up, changing clothes, make-up, more pictures, more make-up… Sixteen-hour working days are normal when filming a commercial, even for the performers of the “main roles”.
And in the midst of all this madness, we managed to catch Hristo Stoichkov and Dimitar Rachkov for a few minutes each, to tell us about their expectations from the World Cup and their most precious memories from previous World Cups, as well as about their joint work and… some other things. Such as the friendship between them and with the “unexpected third” – the world music star Goran Bregović, for the banter and constantly developing laughter between them, but also for who has learned what from the other.
Hristo obviously feels strange as he settles into his chair in the referee’s dressing room at the Vasil Levski national stadium – in all his visits to this stadium, he has never entered this room. However, he is maximally focused on his “task” and is prepared with answers to all questions. And he is absolutely serious. After all, we are talking about football – a serious topic for him, even the most serious. He doesn’t know it yet, but after talking to us, he has nearly five hours of nighttime footage waiting for him, of which about… 12 seconds will be included in the WINBET commercial.
There is no doubt about Hristo Stoichkov (470 matches and more than 230 goals for teams from three continents, 80 matches and 37 goals for the national team, participant in two world championships and one European championship as a player and four more world championships as a commentator and expert) who will be the new world champion: it will be argentina.
But apparently, apart from his logic and knowledge of the game, there is also a purely emotional element in his prediction – his weakness for Leo Messi. Whether it’s because he sees something of himself in him, whether it’s because he met the Argentinian magician literally a few days before, but Stoichkov speaks of his colleague with marked admiration.
If Stoichkov doubts anything, it is… the football knowledge of another of his “colleagues”, Dimitar Rachkov. “If I give him a ball and a watermelon, Rachkov will take the watermelon,” he says, but it’s quite clear that this is just one of the constant banter between them, the spirit of which can also be felt in the WINBET commercials.
For his part, Rachkov has no qualms about expressing his admiration for the most successful Bulgarian football player of all time. “The discipline that Hristo learned in football is now being carried over to his work on television and here, on the shoots for WINBET commercials,” he says with sincere respect. The actor is impressed that Kamata didn’t shy away from asking him for advice on his performance during the shoot. “This man has no complexes… and he values his partner,” says Rachkov, and it becomes clear that in him, pure fan admiration for the great athlete and respect for his professionalism off the field are intertwined in equal measure.
And he, like Stoichkov, is convinced of Argentina’s success and shares Hristo’s enthusiasm for the “Albiceleste” top ten: “Argentina has a short boy, his name is Leo Messi, a genius footballer… We short people, we are all genius people, it’s time for him and for him to lift the world cup.’
But if there’s one thing they both agree on, it’s what their most vivid World Cup memory is: Stoichkov’s goal against Germany at the 1994 USA World Cup. Understandably, it’s a fond memory for both , but for not quite the same reasons:
“There’s no chance I’ll forget that moment when I equalized in the 73rd minute against Germany because my eldest daughter has a birthday on that date. We can’t help but think of USA’94,” says Hristo without any hint of unnecessary modesty.
“I have never seen this nation so united. The word hate did not exist at the time of this world war,” recalls Rachkov with excitement and describes with nostalgia the scenes of togetherness and joy on the streets of Sofia at that time.
But there is no way in an interview with Stoichkov that there is no provocation. On a whim, he promised us at all costs to ask Rachkov how far he thinks Italy will go at the World Cup. The tease is obvious – the four-time world champions were unlucky to crash out during qualifying and miss out on a second consecutive world championship. Rachkov’s answer and everything else from the conversations with the two stars of the WINBET commercials are in the video: