90 years since birth of world football legend Josef Masopust

Josef Masopust, photo: archive of Klub přátel Josefa Masopusta

Global soccer great Josef Masopust, a World Cup runner-up with Czechoslovakia and the first Czech recipient of the Ballon d’Or, was born on 9 February 1931.

Josef Masopust,  photo: Study1919 / Klub přátel Josefa Masopusta,  CC BY-SA 4.0 International

Josef Masopust came from a village named Střimice in north Bohemia and began his career with Teplice. However, he found his greatest success in the colours of Dukla Prague, where he won eight league titles in a golden era for the club. The midfielder also earned 63 international caps, scoring 10 times for Czechoslovakia.

Masopust was part of the Czechoslovak team that came third in the European Championship in France in 1960. He achieved even greater success in the World Cup in Chile two years later, opening the scoring in the final for Czechoslovakia, who eventually lost 3:1 to Brazil.

Bronze statue of Josef Masopust at the stadium of Dukla Prague,  photo: Cloudz679,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY-SA 4.0

His performances in Chile earned Masopust the Ballon d’Or for European player of the year in 1962. Since that time Pavel Nedvěd, in 2003, has been the only other Czech to earn one of the game’s greatest accolades.

After retiring Masopust became a manager, steering Zbrojovka Brno to the league title in 1978. He died in 2015 at the age of 84. There is a bronze statue of him at the stadium of Dukla Prague.

Josef Masopust, The Czech Knight [Skills & Goals]

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