Football’s Ujfaluši hangs up his boots

Tomáš Ujfaluši, photo: CTK

Tomáš Ujfaluši, a member of Czech football’s ‘golden generation’ which featured the likes of players like Milan Baroš, Jan Koller and Pavel Nedvěd, has decided to hang up his boots. The 35-year-old defender, who played for clubs like Fiorentina and Atletico Madrid and had 78 caps for the national squad, called it quits due to a lingering knee-injury which prevented him from fulfilling a one-year contract with Sparta Prague.

Tomáš Ujfaluši, photo: CTK
Tomáš Ujfaluši quit the national squad in 2009 and this week announced he was retiring from football entirely. The reason: a long-standing knee injury that allowed him to take to the pitch only twice in the 2013/14 season for Sparta Prague. Paradoxically, in the end the talented player was not wholly missed, as Sparta did well even without the experienced defender in the line-up. On Monday, the footballer announced he had reached agreement with the club to call it quits, rather than face another operation and the long road of rehab and training to get back. Tomáš Ujfaluši:

“I consulted with a doctor who said maybe progress could still be made. But I came to Sparta to help and I didn’t want to continue like this. Were I to return afterwards I would have to train indoors during the winter layoff, which wouldn’t have been ideal for my knee. So I decided it would be better to say goodbye to the game.”

Ujfaluši added that at 35 it was also high-time that others be given the chance and that were he to return, given how well Sparta were doing, it would be unfair to take someone else’s place in the regular line-up.

Tomáš Ujfaluši, photo: CTK
“There is no reason to change the line-up because the guys played really well... I was also given the chance to play when I was young and I think it would be very unfair to change the line-up here.”

The defender had numerous successes with individual clubs; he also captained the Czech national squad in 2009. His closest chance at winning a title with the national team came in the European Championships in 2004, where he played in four matches in Portugal, where the Czechs displayed top form. The squad at one point appeared unstoppable but suffered defeat at the hands of Greece in the semi-final.