Aston Villa to sign on Czech striker Milan Baros
The English football club Aston Villa are set to sign on Czech national Milan Baros, the top-scorer at last year's European Championship. Villa have reportedly offered some 6 million pounds for the Czech striker, who after a very promising start -- and despite periods as Liverpool's top scorer -- had proven something of a disappointment.
Liverpool club announcer:
The Premier League team Liverpool signed on the Milan Baros for 3.6 million pounds back in 2001. Back home in the Czech Republic, Baros was known as the 'Ostravan Maradona', for his explosive style of play, reminiscent of Argentina's favourite son. It was his blistering pace on the football pitch that caught the English team's eye.
After a settling-in period with Liverpool's reserve squad, Baros made his Liverpool debut in March 2002. He would go on to score 12 goals for Liverpool in the 2002/2003 season, terrorising defenders with his pace and direct running. The following season was a campaign to forget, as a serious leg break at Blackburn ruled Baros out for six months.
Czech fans in Portugal: "Cesi, do toho! Cesi, do toho!"
But Milan Baros rallied with a vengeance for the Czech national team at the Uefa Euro 2004 contest in Portugal, racking up an incredible five goals and finishing as the championship's top scorer. At the time, some British media estimated Baros was worth over 12 million pounds, nearly four times what he was valued at before the championships.
Announcer: "Milan, Milan scream the Liverpool fans. He's been everywhere today; he's been excellent..."
When he was on, he was golden, but Baros proved an inconsistent performer for Liverpool, and spent a surprising amount of time warming the bench. By autumn 2004, it was clear that he was eager to leave the team, and that there was no love lost between him and Liverpool's new coach, Rafael Benitez.
Czech sports journalist Karel Herink says that aside from a clash of personalities, Liverpool's style of play wasn't a good match for Baros, who never lived up to post-Euro 2004 expectations.
"It's difficult to say why he hasn't been as successful, so far, in the Premiership as he was for the Czech national team... I think he is someone who needs to feel a lot of support from the coach, and probably he didn't feel that from Benitez in the second half of the season; there were some rumours about their personal problems..."
Baros' star quality has faded a bit since he led the Czech national team to a third place finish at the Euro 2004 championship: Aston Villa are thought to have offered Liverpool 6 million pounds for the 23-year old striker.