Is it game over for “cursed genius” Rosický after latest operation?

Tomáš Rosický, photo: CTK

Tomáš Rosický, once regarded as one of Europe’s most promising young footballers, has just undergone Achilles tendon surgery in the latest in a long series of injury setbacks. Now 36, Rosický says he hopes to return for Sparta Prague next season. However, the former Dortmund and Arsenal midfielder has spent less than 20 minutes on the pitch since returning to his boyhood club last year. I asked football journalist Michal Petrák whether he believed Rosický would ever play again.

Tomáš Rosický,  photo: Filip Jandourek
“I’m sorry, I really can’t tell you, I don’t know. If I bet, I would bet that he wouldn’t come back.

“But I would wish him that he would, because I think my generation hasn’t seen a better Czech player live than Tomáš Rosický. Everyone else is far, far behind him in terms of football quality.

“It’s very frustrating that his career – that could have been excellent, he could have been a world star – was so hampered by injuries.

“So I, and I think most people who love football, would wish Tomáš Rosický a farewell party or farewell season, which he would deserve.”

Rosický picked up over 100 caps for the Czech Republic. He played for big European clubs like Dortmund and Arsenal and won trophies with them. But his career has really been blighted by injury. How do you think he’ll be seen in future in the history of Czech soccer?

“He will most certainly belong among the most talented players that Czech football has ever had.

“You could see that even at Arsenal, in one of the toughest leagues in the world – when he was fit he was able to produce some magical moments.

“His vision, his passing ability, his reading of the game – when he was fit and had his day, they were unmatched.

“I think that’s why Arsene Wenger kept him at Arsenal for so long, even though he hardly played.

“As he once said, Anyone who loves football must love Tomáš Rosický, and I think that’s exactly the case, because he’s one of the most naturally gifted players that I’ve ever seen.

“But he will be seen as a cursed genius, I would say. His great ability was devastated by injuries.”

When did you first see him? And when did you or other people realise that he had the potential to be an absolutely top class player?

Tomáš Rosický,  photo: CTK
“Immediately. In his first season at Sparta as a 19- or 20-year old when he played against lesser opposition, or even in the Champions League, you could see he was something else.

“He had flair, he had speed, he had vision immediately when he started playing football.

“You could see that he was something special and you could see that in every team where he played.

“Unfortunately the older he got the fewer those moments were.”