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Vladimír Šmicer
Vladimir Smicer.jpg
Personal information
Full name Vladimír Šmicer
Date of birth 24 May 1973 (1973-05-24) (age 36)
Place of birth    Děčín, Czechoslovakia
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Attacking Midfielder
Club information
Current club Retired
Youth career
1979–1985
1985–1987
1987–1992
TJ Verneřice
Kovostroj Děčín
Slavia Prague
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1992–1996
1996–1999
1999–2005
2005–2007
2007-2009
Slavia Prague
Lens
Liverpool
Bordeaux
Slavia Prague
Total
081 (26)
091 (16)
121 (10)
028 0(3)
023 0(5)
344 (60)   
National team2
1993
1993–2005
Czechoslovakia
Czech Republic
001 0(0)
081 (27)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 17 July 2009.
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of 10:04, 6 March 2008 (UTC).
* Appearances (Goals)

Vladimír Šmicer (born 24 May 1973 in Děčín) is a former Czech football midfielder and forward, who is currently sports manager of the Czech national football team[1].

Contents

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Early career

An attacking midfielder, Šmicer first shot to prominence in 1996, helping Slavia Prague reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup and then starring for the Czech Republic during their run to the final of Euro 96.

Šmicer didn’t have to wait for notice at Euro 96. He signed a contract with the French club Lens prior to the championship. While at Lens, he enjoyed more success, inspiring the club to a first ever-French title in 1997/98. That season he scored seven goals and was a leader on the ground. He played in the Champions League and played a pivotal role in the side's successes in this tournament.

He left Lens to move to Liverpool in June 1999.

Liverpool

Šmicer joined Liverpool for a fee of £4.2 million, recruited to fill the void left by the departure of Steve McManaman to Real Madrid. Upon arriving at Anfield in 1999, Šmicer was given the famous Number 7 shirt although he would later wear number 11. When he left Liverpool in 2005, Šmicer said "Just signing for Liverpool in itself was a dream because I supported them as a kid. It was a dream come true". He made his debut for Liverpool in a game against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.[2] Liverpool won the game 2-0 and Šmicer impressed with his initial input. However his first campaign in the Premiership was a difficult one as he struggled to come to terms with the pace of the English game and his cause was not helped a succession of injuries.

The 2000/2001 season saw Šmicer or "Vladi", as the Liverpool fans affectionally called him, fare much better, whether he played on the flanks or behind the front two. Having got to grips with life in the Premiership and regaining full fitness he showed in glimpses just what he is really capable of and played an important role in the Reds treble cup triumph.

Unfortunately he was plagued with injury problems and a lack of consistency meant he was in and out of the team. However, there were some memorable moments for the Czech Republic international, like the last minute winner against Chelsea in 2002.[3] And in Europe, a stunning volley against Borussia Dortmund[4] and the performance in the 2-0 win over Roma in the Champions League at Anfield. A serious injury suffered in late 2003 blighted his career. However, he battled his way back to fitness and due to a severe injury crisis at the club during 2004-2005 season, Šmicer began to feature prominently for Liverpool under new manager Rafael Benítez. His playing return coincided with Liverpools quest for the Champions League and he made substitute appearances against Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea as Liverpool qualify for the Champions League Final against A.C. Milan.

Šmicer, who celebrated his 32nd birthday the day before, didn't start the final. Before the game, Benitez had decided that Šmicer's contract was not to be renewed. After 32 minutes, an injury to Harry Kewell gave him his opportunity to end his Liverpool career in style "Before the final, I so was eager to get on. It was my last match for Liverpool so I was deternined to end it in style. I was free in my head and that was my motivation - to do well for the club in my last match. I wanted to enjoy the big game."

Despite being named as a substitute, Šmicer was soon brought on for Harry Kewell, who had suffered an injury. At that time the scoreline was 1-0 to AC Milan but Liverpool were to go in three goals down at half time. In the second half though, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard pulled a goal back and less than two minutes later, Šmicer struck a 20 yard shot which flew past the goalkeeper at the far post. Eventually, the match went into Extra-Time and penalties and Šmicer scored the decisive penalty for Liverpool. Moments later, Jerzy Dudek saved Andriy Shevchenko's penalty to win the shootout and the final for Liverpool.[5]

Bordeaux

Šmicer moved on to Girondins Bordeaux in the summer of 2005. In the 2006-07 Champions League, Bordeaux were drawn against Liverpool in the group stages. He indicated his delight at returning to Anfield, although injury barred him from playing a part in either of the two matches between the sides. Šmicer suffered a serious knee injury that sidelined him for more than a year. The injury was the worst moment of his career and he even considered retiring. As a result, he missed the 2006 World Cup in Germany but he did not retire. After another long recovery, Šmicer did not extend his contract in Bordeaux and left the club in the summer of 2007. He made 28 appearances and scored 3 goals during his time at Bordeaux.

Slavia Prague

In July 2007, Šmicer returned to SK Slavia Praha, where he signed a one year contract. His return to Slavia sparked joy among the club's supporters. That season, Slavia won its first league title after 12 years, a triumph which Šmicer was also part of. Overall, he has not played much because of injuries. He ended his football career after draw 0-0 with Viktoria Plzeň in 9 November 2009.[6]

International career

Šmicer began his International career in 1993. He was an essential player in three European Championships for the Czech Republic. In total earning 81 caps, scoring 27 goals. He also has one cap for the old Czechoslovakia national team.

Šmicer was part of the Czech Republic squad for Euro 1996. The then-22-year-old midfielder started the country’s stunning campaign in England. The Czechs were down 3-2 in a game against Russia and needed to draw in order to qualify for the playoff rounds. Šmicer scored the all important equalizer two minutes before the end of the game. The Czechs then advanced through the playoffs to the final game, which they lost to Germany after extra-time.

Four years later, in Euro 2000. Šmicer scored both goals in the national team’s only victory, 2-0 against Denmark. At Euro 2004, he scored the winning goal in the team’s 3-2 win over the Netherlands. In that game, the Czechs were 2-0 down after 20 minutes of play but still managed to recover. The comeback began an impressive march to the tournament’s semi-finals. Šmicer has said the game against Netherlands was the most memorable moment in his international career.

Šmicer holds the distinction of being one of only four players to score at three UEFA European Championships - Euro '96, Euro 2000 and Euro 2004. The others being Jürgen Klinsmann (Euro 88, Euro 92 and Euro 96), Thierry Henry and Nuno Gomes (both Euro 2000, Euro 2004 and Euro 2008).

Although he didn't play at Euro 2008, Šmicer made his debut as a television commentator during the Euro 2008 opening match between the home team Switzerland and his native Czech Republic, held June 7 in Basel.

Managerial career

Just one day after retiring from football, Šmicer became sports manager of the Czech national football team working alongside coach Michal Bílek.[7] [8]

Statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Czechoslovakia League Cup League Cup Continental Total
1992-93 Slavia Prague First League 21 9
Czech Republic League Czech Republic Football Cup League Cup Europe Total
1993-94 Slavia Prague Gambrinus liga 18 6
1994-95 16 3
1995-96 28 9
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
1996-97 Lens Division 1 33 5
1997-98 28 7
1998-99 30 4
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1999-00 Liverpool Premier League 21 1
2000-01 27 2
2001-02 22 4
2002-03 21 0
2003-04 20 3
2004-05 10 0
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
2005-06 Girondins Bordeaux Ligue 1 25 3
2006-07 3 0
Czech Republic League Czech Republic Football Cup League Cup Europe Total
2007-08 Slavia Prague Gambrinus liga 12 2
2008-09 8 3
2009-10 3 0
Total Czechoslovakia 21 9
Czech Republic 85 23
France 119 19
England 121 10
Career Total 346 61

Honours

Czech Republic SK Slavia Praha

France RC Lens

England Liverpool

France Bordeaux

  • National Team Czech
    • European Championships 1996 runner up

References

External links



Simple English

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