Jan Koller to celebrate 50th birthday in Lucerna

The Czech national team’s all-time top goal scorer, Jan Koller, is planning to celebrate his 50th birthday in one of Prague’s iconic halls. The event is being called “Nights with a Legend”.

The programme of the evening itself is being planned as a surprise for the retired footballer. Several VIP guests are expected to partake, with projectors screening important moments from Koller’s life and an accompanying show is likely to take place as well. The footballer’s many kits will be on display too.

A fairy tale story of an ordinary lad

'Jan Koller: The story of an ordinary lad' | Photo: Bohemia MP

Jan Koller’s story is truly unique and has been described many times by various foreign news sites. Last year even saw the release of a film about the footballer. Called “Jan Koller – Příběh obyčejného kluka” (Jan Koller: The story of an ordinary lad), it was played both in cinemas and on television and seen by more than a million viewers.

Jan Koller | Photo: ČT

Jan Koller comes from Smetanova Lhota, a village with a population of 300. He played amateur football on the village level into adulthood and few imagined that the 202cm tall young man would end up as a major threat to some of the world’s best defenders and goalkeepers.

Booed at Sparta

Jan Koller in Sparta Prague | Photo: YouTube

Eventually, Jan Koller managed to get into the reserves of Sparta Prague. It actually happened because he was working in Prague at the time and had nowhere to train. He was then moved up to the A-team, which was full of stars and national team players. Even though he was booed by fans at first, he managed to make it into the starting eleven and began to score his first goals in Czechia’s top-tier league. He was then transferred to the Belgian team Lokeren and subsequently bought by that country’s most famous club Anderlecht Brussels. He would go on to win two league titles with Anderlecht before being transferred again, this time to Borussia Dortmund. It was in Germany that Koller spent some of his best years, winning the Bundesliga. He would subsequently also play for teams in Monaco, Russia and France.

Jan Koller | Photo: ČT

The two-meter-tall giant would also achieve great things while playing for his country, scoring goals at both the European Championship and the World Cup. In 1999 he was named Czechia’s best footballer and four years later he even received a nomination for the Ballon d'Or. He ended his career with 55 goals for the Czech national team to his name, which still remains the record. His skill, demeanour and appearance would make him one of the most iconic figures of Czech football history, who was well known for always remaining modest despite his successes.