AGONA Profile: Miroslav Stoch, back for a second spell inThessaloniki
Miroslav Stoch has returned to Thessaloniki for a second spell at PAOK and the AGONA Profile analyses Stoch’s career to date.
Beginning youth career at local academy Nitra
Miroslav Stoch began his footballing journey with his local club Nitra. Stoch was an outstanding young talent for his age, where he would regularly dominate at the under 17s level, while only being 15 years of age. He made his debut for the senior team at 16-years-old, being tracked by numerous scouts from European clubs such as Nice and Chelsea.
Stoch signs for English powerhouse Chelsea
Stoch signed with Chelsea’s youth academy in 2006 after impressing scouts at his time at Nitra. He was successful in his trial in London and became a regular in the under 18s team, where he scored 11 goals in the 2006/07 season. His impressive performances were rewarded as he was promoted to the reserve team for the 2007/08 campaign.
He made four appearances for the Chelsea senior team and made his debut against rivals Arsenal FC off the bench in 2008. Stoch, however, struggled to make his mark with the senior team and was sent out on loan for the 2009/10 season.
Stoch sent out on loan to Twente
Stoch signed for Twente on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea in 2009 in order to play regular first-team football. Stoch had a very impressive season playing in the Dutch Eredivisie. He scored 10 league goals and 12 goals across all competitions, from 45 appearances, most of which came from the starting XI. He was an integral part of Twente’s Eredivisie winning team in the 2009/10 season.
Stoch moves to Fenerbahce
Following his magnificent season on loan at Twente, Stoch signed for Turkish club Fenerbahçe in 2010, on a four-year deal worth 5.5 million euros. In his first season at the club, Stoch made 35 appearances and scored three goals across all competitions, as his side went on to win the Super Lig title.
His second season (2011/12) at Fenerbahce was his best in Turkey with Stoch scoring 12 goals from 37 appearances. However, his form dipped the following year to record his most disappointing season in Turkey where he made 32 appearances but failed to score a goal throughout the campaign.
Following three successive loan spells at PAOK (2013/14), Al Ain (2014/15), and Bursaspor (2015/16), he returned back to Fenerbahçe for the 2016/17 season where he scored five goals from 21 appearances.
Stoch awarded the FIFA Puskas Award for 2012
Stoch was awarded the 2012 FIFA Puskas Award, marking the best goal of the year, for his brilliant marker against Genclerbirligi in the Super Lig. The Slovakian defeated contenders Neymar and Radamel Falcao for the award.
Stoch’s first stint at PAOK
In 2013, Stoch joined PAOK on a one-year loan deal from Fenerbahce for one million euros. He scored a crucial goal in PAOK’s first leg UEFA Champions League play-off against German outfit FC Schalke helping his side earn a 1:1 draw on the road, However PAOK could not finish the job at home in the second leg.
Stoch played every league game for PAOK that season, where he scored seven goals. Across all competitions, Stoch made 46 appearances and register 10 goals and 10 assists, quickly becoming a fan favorite at Toumba.
Despite the club’s efforts to keep him in Thessaloniki at the conclusion of the season, he returned back to his parent club Fenerbahce.
Loan deal away from Europe at Al Ain
In 2014, he signed a new contract with Fenerbahce until 2018 but was then loaned out to Al Ain on a one-year loan deal for one million euros. Playing in the league and also in the Asian Champions League, Stoch played 36 matches for the club from the United Arab of Emirates where he scored 13 goals.
Stoch returns to Turkey to join Bursaspor
In 2015, Stoch joined Bursaspor on yet another loan move from Fenerbahce. However, he struggled to make his mark, only scoring on two occasions throughout the 2015/16 campaign.
Impressive two seasons at Slavia Prague
In 2017, Stoch joined Czech outfit Slavia Prague, despite gaining lots of interest from numerous clubs in Europe, including Spain and France, whilst also rejecting lucrative offers from the Middle East. Stoch stated that he chose Slavia Prague for the opportunity of potentially playing in the UEFA Champions League group stages. However, it did not go to plan with his side going down to Cypriot club APOEL in the Champions League playoffs.
Stoch was a hero in the 2018 Czech Cup final, scoring a goal in his team's 3-1 win over FK Jablonec. In late November 2018, he signed a three-year contract extension with the club.
In the 2018/2019 season, Stoch was in superb form for Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic, helping the club claim both the domestic championship and the cup by gaining 14 goals and 13 assists. Slavia also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
However, at the conclusion of the 2018/19 campaign, Slavia allowed Stoch to explore the option of moving back to Greece to sign for the Greek champions, PAOK. Stoch was eager for a return back to the Thessalonikis and made his move official last weekend in a transfer valued at 1.5 million euros.