There’s been a lot of heated debate across our social media platforms in recent weeks- who is world class? What defines world class? How entertaining is Serie A as a competition?
Discussing these topics prompted me to recall one of my favorite ever players. Pavel Nedved. Someone I’d rate in the same class as the great Argentinian Juan Roman Riquelme. Someone I had the pleasure of watching live at the 2006 World Cup when the Czech Republic took on Italy.
I was amazed a footballer could be that good. The former Juve player says he was blown away by the passion shown by Celtic and Lubo Moravcik on the night the Hoops humbled Juventus 4-3 in the Champions League back in 2001. I guess I felt the same way, with the only difference being I was a spectator watching Nedved, whilst the Czech legend was playing against Lubo
A FIFA Ballon d’Or winner (2003), the most successful Czech footballer of all time and a legend of European football, Pavel Nedved remains beloved by fans of the game the world over. Nicknamed Furia Ceca (“The Czech Fury”), Nedved won Serie A four times across his 19-year career but was arguably at his best in Europe where he inspired brilliant UEFA Super Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup triumphs with Lazio before dazzling in the Champions League with Juventus, driving them to a 2003 final full of drama and spectacle.
On the international circuit he was no less impressive, playing with flair and penache at the heart of the newly formed Czech Republic team at the 1996 Euros, where they ended runners-up. He now continues to be a guiding force for Juventus, albeit off the pitch – as a board member, he oversees many of the club’s transfer deals and has been a key figure in engineering the team’s resurgence in recent years. Nedved was appointed vice president of his former club in October 2015
Last month he came out of retirement at the age of 45 in his homeland. Signing for amateur side FK Skalna is undoubtedly interrelated to his son (Pavel Jr) being on the books of Skalna and the chance of lining up together at some point this season. Czech Republic legend Pavel Nedved revealed the biggest regret he had during his career was not playing for Manchester United. European footballer of the year in 2003, instead enjoying highly successful spells with Lazio and Juventus. The midfielder was once a target for Chelsea, a move which he turned down and when asked by a Czech news outlet what he rues the most from his playing days he said: ‘That I never played for Manchester United, I’d have liked that.”
If I were Nedved I wouldn’t have any regrets. Seria A WAS great back in those days. Nedved was truly WORLD CLASS.