13
Mar
08

Pavel Nedvěd

Pavel Nedvěd pronounced [ˈpavɛl ˈnɛdvjɛt] (born August 30, 1972 in Cheb, Czech Republic, at that time Czechoslovakia) is a Czech professional football player. Nedvěd is a midfielder for Italian club Juventus and formerly for the Czech Republic national team. Before joining Juventus, Nedvěd played for Czech clubs Dukla Prague (1991-92), Sparta Prague (1992-96), and Lazio (1996-2001) in Italy. He has won one Italian scudetto championship with Lazio and four with Juventus (though two of these were later stripped from Juventus after the match-fixing scandal).

He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.

Career

Nedvěd got his international breakthrough when he was part of the Czech national team which went to the final of Euro 96, where they lost to Germany. Nedvěd’s performance did not go unnoticed and he transferred from Sparta Prague to Lazio in the Serie A in 1996.

Lazio

At Lazio, Nedvěd won the Coppa Italia in 1997/98, and the last international Cup Winners’ Cup tournament in 1999 against Real Mallorca, where he scored the last ever goal of the tournament in a 2-1 win for Lazio. Nedvěd made his European debut against Airdrieonians.

Juventus

Nedvěd eventually moved to Juventus in 2001 for a fee of €41 million as a replacement for Zinedine Zidane who had transferred to Spain’s Real Madrid the same summer. He proved to be one of the few midfielders capable of assuming the playmaking role of his brilliant French predecessor. Nedved’s tremendous workrate and guile played an integral part in Juventus’ scudetto-winning teams of 2001/02, 2002/03, 2004/05 and 2005/06.

Nedvěd helped lead Juventus into the 2003 Champions League final against AC Milan, but he was forced to sit out the final because of accumulation of yellow cards, after being booked in the semifinal for tackling Real Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman. At the end of the year, he won the European Footballer of the Year award.

Following the 2005-06 season, and Juventus’s relegation from Serie A due to the Calciopoli scandal, the future of Pavel Nedved as a Juventus player was heavily discussed. Nedved dispelled those rumors by vowing to return to Juventus in order to return the club to Serie A. However, the season was somewhat tumultuous for the Czech international. With only a one year contract, he hinted he might retire from football altogether at the end of the season. He repeated this threat after a 5-game ban stemming from a red card on December 1.[1] Nedved persisted, and Juventus won the Serie B title, securing promotion to Serie A. Nedved confirmed that he would be ending his playing career in Turin by signing a new contract along with team-mate Mauro Camoranesi in July 2007.

During the 2007/08 season, Nedved has performed admirably for the Bianconieri, providing valuable contributions while being Juve’s first choice left winger. However, he has not been free from controversy. Nedved came under negative spotlight recently for his tackle on Inter Milan midfielder Luis Figo, which resulted in a broken fibula for the Portuguese superstar. [2]. Rumors continue to persist that this will be Nedved’s final season with Juventus, however there has been no confirmation from Nedved himself.

International career

By the time of his first retirement from international football, Nedvěd was captain of the Czech national team. In the Euro 2004 semi-final against Greece, Nedvěd was injured when he slammed his knee into Kostas Katsouranis backside while jumping for the ball. Though he continued on the pitch for a while, he was eventually replaced by Vladimír Šmicer. Some observers of the match considered Nedvěd’s injury to be a key factor in the Czechs’ defeat. The injury also led him to retire from the national team in September 2004. Nedvěd had scored 18 goals in 73 games for the Czechs and played for his country at Euro 96, Euro 2000, and Euro 2004.

He came out of international retirement to play for the Czechs in their 2006 World Cup qualifying playoff against Norway in November 2005. The Czechs won both matches 1-0, first in Oslo and then in Prague, to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the first FIFA World Cup appearance for the Czech team since the partition of Czechoslovakia. Nedvěd chose to remain eligible for national selection, and was named to the Czech World Cup squad. Despite an impressive start against the USA, the Czechs failed to qualify for the knock-out stages after losing against Ghana and Italy. He then retired shortly after the World Cup, his last international match ending against Serbia in August 2006.

Following Czech Republic’s qualification to the UEFA Euro 2008, rumours have persisted that Nedved will rejoin the national squad for the tournament. Juventus team-mates, Nicola Legrottaglie and Zdenek Grygera have both commented recently that Nedved returning to the Czech midfield is a possibility. Nedved’s agent has not denied these rumours. [3]

Trivia

In a Serie A match at the end of the Lazio vs. Juventus fixture in the 2000/01 season Nedved swapped shirts with referee Pierluigi Collina.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavel_Nedved

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