Czech Republic is an East European country known for it free-flowing and beautiful football. The erstwhile Czechoslovakia finished runners-up in the 1962 World Cup and also won the European Championship in 1976. They also had a very strong team in the late 1990s and early 2000s and made it to the semifinal of Euro 2004.
Czech’s exquisite football has enthralled football lovers world-wide throughout the decades. They have also produced some world class footballers like Pavel Nedved, Karel Poborsky and Robert Prosinecki, who have all had successful club careers. However, Czech football is going through a rough phase at the moment and they have failed to qualify for the last few World Cups.
Not many Czech players have played in the Premier League, as most of them usually prefer to play in Bundesliga or Serie A. We would now take a look at 5 players who have played successfully in the Premier League:
1. Petr Cech:
Cech is an outstanding goalkeeper who has announced his retirement very recently. He has played successfully in the Premier League for around one and a half decade and been one of the best goalkeepers in the world during that period. He is a great shot-stopper and also very strong in the air.
Cech rose to prominence with a string of great performances in Euro 2004 for Czech Republic. He was signed by Chelsea in 2004 and became a stalwart while playing for them. He contributed significantly to Chelsea’s league win in 2004-5 and 2005-06. He suffered a severe head injury in a match against Reading in 2006 and has been wearing a headguard since then.
Cech again excelled when Chelsea beat Bayern on penalties in the UEFA Champions League final in 2011-12. He remains one of the few goalkeepers to have won both the Premier League and Champions League. Cech played in 494 matches for Chelsea from 2004 to 2015.
He was signed by Arsenal in 2015 and has been with them since then. Cech started for Arsenal in most of the matches in his first 3 seasons with the club. However, he has lost his spot in the starting eleven to Bernd Leno since the beginning of the current season. In all, he has played in 772 matches in his club career and won 4 Premier Leagues, 1 Champions League and 4 FA Cup titles. He is undoubtedly Czech Republic’s greatest goalkeeper of all time.
2. Tomas Rosicky:
Rosicky was a stylish attacking midfielder from Czech Republic, who could play both in the central midfield and the flanks. He was signed from Borussia Dortmund in 2006 and played for Arsenal till 2016. He was a very good passer and had a very good vision too.
Rosicky was a consummate ball-player who excelled in Arsenal’s quick-passing football under Arsene Wenger. He had teammates like Andrei Arshavin, Alexander Hleb and Theo Walcott in the midfield for Arsenal and they entertained the spectators a great deal with their attacking and free-flowing football. Rosicky also had the knack of scoring goals with his shots from the edge of the penalty box and won quite a few matches for Arsenal with his strikes.
Rosicky scored 28 goals in 247 matches for Arsenal and also won 2 FA Cup titles. He made a move to Sparta Prague in 2016 and subsequently retired from football in 2017.
3. Milan Baros:
Baros was an opportunistic and clinical striker, who excelled for Liverpool for quite a few seasons. He was signed from Banik Ostrava in 2002 and played for the Reds till 2005. He played with Michael Owen in the Liverpool line-up and won over the Anfield faithful with a flurry of goals.
Baros was very good in the air and scored quite a few goals with his extraordinary headers. He also was a quick mover inside the penalty box and had no problem in scoring from a tight space. He also converted his penalty in the UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan, as Liverpool won a thrilling match in Istanbul in penalties.
Baros played in 108 matches for Liverpool and scored 27 goals. He also won 1 Champions League with them. He moved to Aston Villa in 2005, but succeeded in leaving behind a great legacy at Liverpool. He also remains one of the finest strikers ever born in Czech Republic.
4. Patrick Berger:
Berger played for Liverpool from 1996 to 2003 and remains one of the most successful Czech players in Premier League’s history. Berger was an exceptionally fast and strong attacking midfielder, who could also play as a wide forward. He also was a good header and scored quite a few goals from set-pieces.
Liverpool had a great team in the late 1990s with players like Berger, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman, but could not win any major silverware. Berger finally tasted success for the Reds in the 2000-01 season, when they won the treble including the FA Cup, UEFA Cup and the League cup. Berger also famously scored against Germany in the final of Euro 1996 and was actually signed by Liverpool following his impressive performance in that tournament.
He left Liverpool in 2005 for French club Bordeaux . He also scored 35 goals from 195 matches for them.
5. Vladimir Smicer:
Smicer was a very skillful attacking midfielder, who played for Liverpool from 1999 to 2005. He also enthralled the spectators with his intelligent passing, deft touches and ball-control. He was a prolific goal scorer too and scored one against AC Milan in the Champions League final in 2005. Liverpool were crowned the Champions of Europe after winning a thrilling final.
He was part of a very exciting Liverpool team including the likes of Steven Gerrard, Milan Baros, Harry Kewell and Sami Hyypia under the tutelage of Rafael Benitez. They could not win the Premier League title though. However, they won the FA Cup and UEFA Cup in 2001 and Smicer played his part in that triumph.
Smicer could also play on the flanks and was a very useful player to have in one’s side. He had a good shot on him too, and could provide some quality crosses for the Strikers. He scored 19 goals in 183 matches for Liverpool and left the club for Bordeaux in 2005.