I’m a former Premier League star turned international manager – I used an ASTROLOGER to help me pick line-ups

FORMER Premier League star Igor Stimac has been accused of taking the Pisces – after using an ASTROLOGER to help him pick a national team.

The ex-Derby County and West Ham defender has been India’s national coach since 2019.

GettyIndia boss Igor Stimac is accused of using an astrologer to pick his teams[/caption]

News Group Newspapers LtdThe former Croatia star used to play for West Ham and Derby[/caption]

Former Croatia international Stimac has also managed his home country as well as clubs in Croatia, Iran and Qatar.

But Stimac, 56, has come under fire since Indian media revealed he repeatedly consulted stargazer Bhupesh Sharma before picking his teams last year.

Former Indian FA chief Kushal Das said he introduced Stimac to Delhi-based Sharma in May 2022.

Das said: “I met him at a meeting. He (Sharma) had worked for a lot of telecom companies and Bollywood personalities.

“What they presented was that astrological timings and the current phase of players can help motivate people into taking the right decisions.

 “I was worried whether India would qualify for the Asian Cup, and so was Igor. I told Sharma I’d put him in touch with Igor and if he liked the idea he could get back to me.

“Igor was very convinced, and they were in Kolkata throughout.

“We used Sharma’s professional services for two months, and we paid him around £15,000 – 1.5million rupees.

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“That didn’t seem such a huge amount, since India qualified for the Asian Cup.”

Stimac told Indian Express: “Bhupesh was recommended to me and I was convinced (by others) that I have to check upon his possible effects in sports…No more than that.

“I requested another foreign assistant coach which was never even considered and was shocked to find out the size of Bhupesh’s contract.”

The newspaper claimed over 100 messages were sent between Stimac and Sharma before matches last summer.

The Croatian boss reportedly asked the astrologer to check the star charts of the players in his squads, and selected his teams based on Sharma’s feedback.

The astrologer replied with remarks against each name like: “Good”; “can do very well. Needs to avoid over confidence”; “a below average day”; “a very good day for him but might get over aggressive”; and “not recommended for the day”.

After beating Afghanistan 2-1 in June, Sharma also said to Stimac: “Do let me know how close we were in this match with player analysis as per charts when you get free.”

Stimac replied: “Everything was spot on, I will explain to you when we meet.”

Stimac played for Derby between 1995 and 1999, then spent the next two seasons with West Ham.

He made 127 league appearances, scoring four goals, before re-joining former club Hajduk Split.

He hit back at his critics, writing on social media: “Target, or honest fighter for the betterment of Indian football?

“The time is coming to put all cards on the table, and see how much and who really cares about football in this country?

“Give it a thought before making up your judgment, and thanks once again for your support.”

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