Czech soccer star Vladimír Šmicer calls time on career at 36

Vladimír Šmicer, photo: CTK

One of the greatest Czech footballers of his generation, Vladimír Šmicer, has announced the end of his career. The 36-year-old former Liverpool player has suffered a lot of injuries in recent years, and said after a game for Slavia Prague on Monday that he had pulled on his boots for the last time.

Vladimír Šmicer has been one of the most successful players in Czech history, both at club and international level. Unfortunately, his career has also been plagued by recurring knee injuries. Šmicer has won league titles in the Czech Republic and France, and a number of trophies with Liverpool, one of the biggest clubs in the world. Along with Milan Baroš he was the first Czech to win the Champions League in 2005. Indeed, Šmicer scored in that year’s final, regarded as one of the most exciting games ever played. The midfielder announced the end of his career after playing the first half of a goalless draw with Viktoria Plzeň on Monday, saying he was no longer able to help Slavia on the field:

Vladimír Šmicer, photo: www.slavia.cz
“My head and my heart want me to carry on but my body says no. It simply isn’t working and I don’t want to torment myself or my team-mates. I can still feel my knee and the preparation for the matches is not the way it should be. If I can’t give it 100 percent in training, I cannot play 100 percent in matches either. So I have decided to end this misery.”

Vladimír Šmicer first appeared for the Czech national team in 1993, going on the score 27 times in 81 games. He helped the Czechs reach the final of the European Championship in 1996, and was also involved when they got to the semi-finals eight years later at Euro 2004.

After winning Champions League, UEFA Cup and FA Cup medals at Liverpool, Šmicer spent a year at Bordeaux before returning to Slavia, the club where his career began. And he seemed to bring some luck with him: he had helped the Prague side to the 1996 Czech league, and when he returned they won the title for the first time since then, defending it the following season.

Vladimír Šmicer, photo: CTK
Vladimír Šmicer has accepted an offer from the president of the Czech football association Ivan Hašek to work in administration with the international team. And he isn’t wasting any time: on Friday, just four days after retiring as a player, he will leave with the national side for a tournament in the United Arab Emirates.