Pavel Nedvěd

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Pavel Nedvěd
Pavel Nedvěd.jpg
Nedvěd playing for the Czech Republic in 2006
Personal information
Full name Pavel Nedvěd
Date of birth (1972-08-30) 30 August 1972 (age 41)
Place of birth Cheb, Czechoslovakia
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 9 12 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1992 Dukla Prague 19 (3)
1992–1996 Sparta Prague 97 (23)
1996–2001 Lazio 138 (33)
2001–2009 Juventus 247 (51)
Total 501 (110)
National team
1992–1993 Czechoslovakia U21 7 (0)
1994–2006 Czech Republic 91 (18)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Pavel Nedvěd (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpavɛl ˈnɛdvjɛt] ( ); born 30 August 1972) is a retired Czech footballer, who played as a midfielder. He is one of the most successful Czech players to emerge from the Czech Republic, winning numerous accolades with Lazio and Juventus, including the last ever Cup Winners' Cup. Nedvěd was a key member of the Czech Republic team which reached the final of UEFA Euro 1996, during which he garnered much international attention. He was later given the international captaincy. Well known for his energy and tireless runs, refined dribbling, as well as his powerful shooting and goal scoring abilities, Nedvěd was nicknamed Furia Ceca by Italian fans and The Czech cannon in English-speaking media.

Winning the Ballon d'Or as the European Footballer of the Year in 2003, Nedvěd became only the second Czech player to receive this honour, and the first since the breakup of Czechoslovakia. He was also the recipient of the second Golden Foot award in 2004. Throughout his career, Nedvěd won numerous awards, including being named Czech Footballer of the Year four times and receiving the Golden Ball (Czech Republic) six times. Nedvěd retired after the 2008–09 season after 19 years as a professional. He played 501 league matches at club level, scoring 110 goals, and was capped 91 times for the Czech Republic, scoring 18 times.

Club career[edit]

Czech Republic[edit]

Born in the town of Cheb and raised in the nearby town Skalná,[1] Nedvěd began his football career in his native Czechoslovakia. A football fanatic from a young age, Nedvěd began playing for his home team, Tatran Skalna, in 1977, at the age of just five.[2] He then moved on to Rudá Hvězda Cheb in 1985, playing just one season there, before playing for five years with Skoda Plzeň.[2] Nedvěd started playing for Dukla Prague in 1991, but remained with the club only one season before joining city rivals Sparta Prague in 1992.[3] With Sparta, Nedvěd won one Czechoslovak First League and two Gambrinus liga titles, as well as one Czech Cup.[3] Nedvěd's performances at Euro 1996, including a goal in the group stage match against Italy, gained him some notoriety; despite apparently having a verbal agreement with PSV Eindhoven,[4] Nedvěd made the move from Sparta Prague to Italian Serie A outfit Lazio in 1996.

Lazio[edit]

Nedvěd scored his first league goal for Lazio against Cagliari on 20 October 1996 and finished with seven goals in the 1996–97 season.[5] Nedvěd rapidly became an integral part of the Lazio side and scored four goals in three matches early in the 1997–98 season.[6] The club went on a 24-game unbeaten streak between November 1997 and April 1998, ended in a league match against Juventus in which Nedvěd was sent off.[7] That season, Lazio won the 1997–98 Coppa Italia, as well as reaching the final of the 1997–98 UEFA Cup.[8][9] Nedvěd and Lazio started the 1998–99 season by winning the Supercoppa Italiana; Nedvěd scoring for Lazio as they beat Juventus 2–1.[10] He also played a role in Lazio's path to the last ever Cup Winners' Cup, scoring a goal against Lausanne in the first round as well as scoring in both legs of Lazio's 7–0 aggregate quarter-final victory against Panionios.[11] In the 1999 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final, Nedvěd scored the decisive goal against Mallorca as Lazio secured a 2–1 win.[12] This proved to be the last ever goal of the tournament, which was abolished the next year.[13]

Nedvěd was one of the ten highest-paid footballers in the Italian league in 1999.[14] He played in the 1999 UEFA Super Cup against Manchester United at the start of the season. Lazio won the match by a single goal and Nedvěd and the club celebrated another trophy.[15] Lazio went on to win the Serie A title and Coppa Italia, completing a domestic double in 2000, with Nedvěd playing a big part.[16] Nedvěd won the Supercoppa Italiana with Lazio for a second time in 2000.[10] Along with Siniša Mihajlović, Nedvěd was one of two Lazio players sent off in the quarter-final of the Coppa Italia as the defending champions lost 5–3 on aggregate to Udinese in December 2000.[17] Nedvěd played UEFA Champions League football with Lazio, scoring against Real Madrid in a 2–2 draw in the second group stage,[18] but it wasn't enough as the Italian side were eliminated from the competition. In Lazio's final match of the season in the Champions League, Nedvěd was criticised by Leeds United manager David O'Leary for a challenge on Alan Maybury, although the referee did not give a foul for the challenge.[19] He was subsequently handed a three-match suspension from European competition by UEFA.[20]

Despite Nedvěd signing a new four-year contract with Lazio in April 2001,[21] his club tried to sell him as well as team-mate Juan Sebastián Verón regardless. This triggered fan protests against club president Sergio Cragnotti in the summer of 2001.[22] The players ended up being sold to Juventus and Manchester United respectively.

Juventus[edit]

Having spent five seasons with Lazio, Nedvěd was linked with clubs including Manchester United and Chelsea,[23][24] but ultimately moved to Juventus in 2001 for a fee of €41 million.[25] He was seen as a replacement at his new club for Zinedine Zidane, who had transferred to Spain's Real Madrid the same summer.[25] Nedvěd played frequently in Juventus' Scudetto-winning teams of 2001–02 and 2002–03.[26] Nedvěd played a big part in Juventus' title-winning season in 2003, but he was also a controversial figure. He quit the Italian Footballers' Association in protest of the union's limit of non-EU players at clubs,[27] his native Czech Republic not being a member state until 2004.[28] Nedvěd was instrumental in leading Juventus into the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final against Milan,[29] but he was forced to sit out the final because of his accumulation of yellow cards, after being booked in the semi-final for a foul on Real Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman.[30]

In December 2003, Nedvěd was named "World Footballer of the Year" by World Soccer.[31] Later the same month, he won the European Footballer of the Year award ahead of contemporaries such as Thierry Henry and Paolo Maldini, becoming only the second Czech to win the award after Josef Masopust in 1962.[32] He won further recognition in his home country in 2004 as he was voted winner of the Golden Ball (Czech Republic), awarded by sports journalists in the Czech Republic, for the fifth time in seven years.[33]

The 2004–05 season proved to be a frustrating one for Nedvěd as he spent two months out due to injuries of his knee and head.[34] This prompted him to threaten to retire from football in April 2005.[34] Although Juventus won the Serie A title in 2005, and again in 2006, these titles were revoked following the Calciopoli scandal, in which Italian clubs were punished for involvement in match fixing. Following the 2005–06 season, which was concluded by Juventus being relegated from Serie A in spite of having finished first in the league,[35] many stars such as Fabio Cannavaro and Lilian Thuram left the club, with the futures of the remaining players being discussed heavily.[36] After the World Cup, Nedvěd dispelled rumours of his departure by restating his desire to help Juventus regain promotion to Serie A, citing his family being settled and a strong commitment to the club as reasons for his decision.[29] However, the season was somewhat tumultuous for the Czech international. Nedvěd received a five-game ban after a red card against Genoa in December 2006,[37] subsequently repeating his threat to stop playing completely.[38] Nevertheless, he remained with the club until the end of the season, scoring a total of 11 league goals in the 2006–07 Serie B.[26]

Nedvěd playing for Juventus in training, July 2007

In the 2007–08 season, Juventus again played in Serie A. Nedvěd played frequently for the Bianconeri, providing contributions while being the team's first-choice left winger and scoring two goals over the course of the season. However, he did not stay free from controversy. Nedvěd received negative attention in November 2007 after his tackle on Internazionale midfielder Luís Figo, which resulted in a broken fibula for the Portuguese player.[39] In April 2008, Nedvěd spent a night in hospital after a concussion stemming from a clash of heads with Roberto Guana in a match against Palermo.[40]

Nedvěd scored Juventus' first league goal of the 2008–09 season in a 1–1 away draw with Fiorentina.[41] He also scored twice against Bologna in a 2–1 away win in October 2008.[41] On 26 February 2009, Nedvěd announced that he would retire at the end of 2008–09 season.[42][43] Nedvěd stated that his retirement was not for "economic reasons" but so that he could spend more time with his family.[44] On 10 March 2009, Nedvěd was substituted due to injury after 12 minutes of the Champions League last-16 second leg match against Chelsea.[45] Due to his impending retirement and his club losing the tie 3–2 on aggregate, it turned out to be his last European game for Juventus. He retired at the end of the season, captaining the final match against former team Lazio and setting up Vincenzo Iaquinta's goal in a 2–0 victory.[46]

Post-playing career[edit]

Nedvěd ran the Prague Half Marathon in 2010, finishing the course in a time of 1:49:44. It was his first race over such a distance.[47] He ran the Prague Marathon in 2012, clocking a time of 3:50:02 over the 42km course.[48] Exor, the Agnelli's investment company, proposed Nedvěd for a seat in the board of directors of Juventus on 12 October 2010. He officially became a member of the board of directors on 27 October 2012.[49] He is currently a board member at Juventus.[50] Nedvěd was announced as the International Personality in the 2012 FAI International Football Awards in February 2012.[51] In January 2013 Nedvěd was banned from attending Serie A games for three weeks after he was found to have insulted referee Paolo Valeri in Juventus' game against Sampdoria.[52]

International career[edit]

Nedvěd started playing for the national youth teams of Czechoslovakia in 1988, representing his country at the under-15 age group before progressing through to 16, 17 and 18.[3] In 1992 he made his first appearance for the Czechoslovakia national under-21 football team and went on to play seven times between 1992 and 1993.[3]

Nedvěd debuted for the newly reformed Czech national team in June 1994 in a 3–1 win over the Republic of Ireland.[53] His first major tournament was the Euro 1996 tournament, where he scored his first senior international goal and helped his team reach the final.

Euro 1996[edit]

The Czech Republic were not expected to make an impact against a favoured Germany side in their opening match; despite having two chances to score, Nedvěd did not and Germany won the match 2–0, with Nedvěd one of ten players to receive a yellow card.[54] Nedvěd did however make an important contribution defensively, clearing a goal-bound shot from Christian Ziege off the line.[54]

Nedvěd scored the first senior international goal of his career in his nation's Group C match against Italy, making it 1–0 to the Czech Republic after just four minutes.[54] Although Italy managed to score an equaliser in the first half, they were reduced to ten men and the Czech Republic scored a second before half time.[54] The match ended 2–1.[54] Nedvěd played in the third group match, against Russia, but picked up his second yellow card of the tournament as the Czechs managed to draw 3–3 and advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.[55]

Due to suspension, Nedvěd missed the Czech Republic's quarter-final game against Portugal.[56] However, the Czechs won in his absence and progressed.[57] In the semi-final match against France, Nedvěd was named man of the match as the Czech Republic managed to advance to the final after a penalty shoot–out,[58] with Nedvěd scoring the second penalty for the Czech Republic.[59] He and indeed the Czech Republic went on to play in the final, again facing Germany, although it was not to be as their opponents won 2–1 via the golden goal rule.[60]

Euro 2000[edit]

Going into Euro 2000, Nedvěd was unable to train normally due to an ankle injury.[61] The Czechs' first match, against the Netherlands, saw both Nedvěd and international team-mate Jan Koller hit the woodwork without scoring before the Dutch scored a controversial penalty to win the game shortly before the end of the match.[62] In the second match, against France, Nedvěd was fouled, which brought a penalty for the Czechs, converted by Karel Poborský to level the scores at 1–1.[63] Despite having a couple of shots on goal, Nedvěd was unable to beat French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez and France went on to win the match 2–1.[63] Nedvěd played in the third group match, against Denmark, but the Czechs' 2–0 victory was futile and the team exited the tournament.[62] Following the tournament, Nedvěd took over the national team captaincy from Jiří Němec.[64]

Euro 2004[edit]

At Euro 2004 he was instrumental in the group stage match against the Netherlands. Two goals down after 19 minutes, the Czechs came back to win 3–2 with Nedvěd putting in a man-of-the-match performance.[65] Nine players, including Nedvěd, were rested for the group match against Germany, with the Czechs having already qualified for the knockout stage of the competition.[66] He received a yellow card in the quarter-final match against Denmark, which was upheld on appeal.[67] This meant Nedvěd would miss the final if he collected another yellow card in the semi-final against Greece, were the Czechs to win.[67] Greece defeated the Czech Republic in the semi-final; Nedvěd suffered a knee injury in the match and was substituted.[53] Following their loss and exit from the tournament, Nedvěd announced his retirement from the national team.[53] He was recognised for his excellent performances in the tournament by being named in the "Team of the Tournament" alongside countrymen Petr Čech and Milan Baroš.[68]

2006 World Cup[edit]

After much persuasion from coach Karel Brückner and team-mates, Nedvěd decided to come out of international retirement just in time for the World Cup qualification playoffs against Norway,[69] in which the Czech Republic were successful and qualified for the final tournament for the first time since the break-up of Czechoslovakia.[70] Nedvěd's participation in the World Cup appeared to be in doubt after suffering what appeared to be a knee injury in June 2006,[71] although he went on to play in the tournament nonetheless.

In the first match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the Czechs impressively won 3–0 against the United States,[72] but suffered injuries to key players and lost their next two group matches against Ghana and eventual winners Italy, finishing third in their group.[73][74] Nedvěd thought he had scored in the match against Ghana, but offside was called as he started to celebrate at the beginning of the second half.[75] Nedvěd had several attempts at goal against Italy but they were saved by Juventus team-mate Gianluigi Buffon.[74] Nedvěd announced his final retirement from the international scene ahead of the August 2006 friendly match against Serbia and Montenegro, in which he made his 91st and final appearance.[76] He later refused to reverse his decision despite calls from team-mates and former coach Karel Brückner prior to Euro 2008.[77]

Style of play[edit]

Nedvěd was nicknamed Furia Ceca by Italian fans, noted for his skill, consistency and verve.[78] In English-speaking media, Nedvěd was dubbed The Czech cannon.[79][80] Despite playing as a left midfielder, Nedvěd was a two-footed player, able to competently use either foot to play the ball.[79] He was known as a player specialising in scoring long-range goals.[81] Lazio boss Sven-Göran Eriksson described Nedvěd as "an atypical midfielder, totally complete".[80]

Personal life[edit]

Nedvěd was born to father Václav and mother Anna.[82] He has a wife, Ivana, who he has lived with since 1992.[83] The couple have two children, named after their parents: Ivana and Pavel.[83] Nedvěd's autobiography was released in Italian in 2010 under the title La mia vita normale : di corsa tra rivoluzione, Europa, e pallone d'oro. It was translated into Czech and released as Můj obyčejný život in the Czech Republic in 2011.[84]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Source: League matches;[26] Coppa Italia stats at Juventus.[85] European competitions stats.[86]

Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Czechoslovakia League Czechoslovak Cup Europe Total
1991–92 Dukla Prague First League 19 3 19 3
1992–93 Sparta Prague 17 0 5 0 22 0
Czech Republic League Czech Cup Europe Total
1993–94 Sparta Prague Gambrinus liga 23 3 4 0 27 3
1994–95 27 6 2 0 29 6
1995–96 30 14 8 5 38 19
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1996–97 Lazio Serie A 32 7 3 2 35 9
1997–98 26 11 11 2 37 13
1998–99 21 1 8 4 29 5
1999–2000 28 5 13[A] 1 41 6
2000–01 31 9 10 3 41 12
2001–02 Juventus Serie A 32 4 4 0 7 0 43 4
2002–03 29 9 1 0 15 5 45 14
2003–04 30 6 4 0 6 2 40 8
2004–05 27 7 1 0 10 3 38 10
2005–06 33 5 4 0 8 2 45 7
2006–07 Serie B 33 11 3 1 36 12
2007–08 Serie A 31 2 2 1 33 3
2008–09 32 7 3 0 9 0 44 7
Country Czechoslovakia 36 3 5 0 41 3
Czech Republic 80 23 14 5 94 28
Italy 385 84 22 2 100 24 507 110
Total 501 110 22 2 119 29 642 141

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ includes one match in the European Super Cup for Lazio against Manchester United.

International[edit]

[26][87]

Czech Republic national team
Year Apps Goals
1994 1 0
1995 4 0
1996 12 2
1997 10 2
1998 3 1
1999 9 2
2000 10 4
2001 11 4
2002 6 0
2003 8 2
2004 9 0
2005 2 0
2006 6 1
Total 91 18

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Czech Republic's goal tally first.[87]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 14 June 1996 Anfield, Liverpool  Italy 1–0 2–1 Euro 1996
2. 18 September 1996 Na Stínadlech, Teplice  Malta 2–0 6–0 1998 World Cup qualification
3. 17 December 1997 King Fahd II Stadium, Riyadh  United Arab Emirates 2–0 6–1 1997 Confederations Cup
4. 3–0
5. 14 October 1998 Na Stínadlech, Teplice  Estonia 1–0 4–1 Euro 2000 qualifying
6. 4 September 1999 Žalgiris Stadium, Vilnius  Lithuania 1–0 4–0 Euro 2000 qualifying
7. 2–0
8. 26 March 2000 Generali Arena, Prague  Israel 1–0 4–1 Friendly
9. 3–0
10. 7 October 2000 Na Stínadlech, Teplice  Iceland 3–0 4–0 2002 World Cup qualification
11. 4–0
12. 24 March 2001 Windsor Park, Belfast  Northern Ireland 1–0 1–0 2002 World Cup qualification
13. 15 August 2001 Sportovní areál, Drnovice  South Korea 1–0 5–0 Friendly
14. 6 October 2001 Generali Arena, Prague  Bulgaria 2–0 6–0 2002 World Cup qualification
15. 6–0
16. 2 April 2003 Toyota Arena, Prague  Austria 1–0 4–0 Euro 2004 qualifying
17. 6 September 2003 Dinamo Stadium, Minsk  Belarus 1–1 3–1 Euro 2004 qualifying
18. 6 June 2006 Toyota Arena, Prague  Trinidad and Tobago 2–0 3–0 Friendly

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Sparta Prague[3]
Lazio[88]
Juventus[88]

Country[edit]

Czech Republic

Individual[edit]

Publications[edit]

  • (2010) La mia vita normale : di corsa tra rivoluzione, Europa, e pallone d'oro
  • (2011) Můj obyčejný život

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External links[edit]