During the ‘Cold War’ era the interest in footballers from ‘behind the Iron Curtain’ was limited. Yashin of The Soviet Union was internationally renowned, the Hungarians of the early 1950’s ( some of whom , notably Puskas, fled the uprising and moved to the west) were admired.
Following impressive displays against Benfica in the 1966 European Cup, Georgi Asparuhov (1943 – 1971) of Bulgaria actually attracted attempts from ‘western’ clubs (Benfica included) to sign him. It is understood that these overtures were scotched by the Bulgarian Government.
Known as Gundi, Asparuhov played for Levski Sofia from 1960 to 1961 and 1964 to 1971, and for Botev Plovdiv from 1961 to 1963. He played 245 matches and scored 150 goals in the Bulgarian first division. He represented Bulgaria 50 times (and at 3 World Cup Finals) scoring 19 goals. He was awarded The Order of Labour.
Asparuhov was killed in a car crash in June 1971, and his funeral brought crowds estimated at 500,000 to the streets of Sofia. The Levski stadium is now named in his honour.
For a study in finishing see the goal that he scored against England at Wembley in 1968- it’s on You Tube.