Who is Pavel Nedved?
Who is Pavel Nedved?
Pavel Nedved is a legendary footballer from the Czech Republic. Throughout his career as an attacking midfielder and winger, Nedved racked up an impressive 110 goals for club and country. Nedved was a staple on the Czech Republic Football team and contributed to the success of clubs like Sparta Prague, Lazio, and Juventus. Nedved's exceptional two-foot play has solidified him as one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Pavel Nedved was born in Cheb, Czechoslovakia in August of 1972. After the birth of their son, Vaclav and Anna Nedved relocated to Skalna to raise their boy. It was here where Nedved fell in love with football. Nedved began kicking the ball around the streets of Skalna at an early age. As soon as he was able, Nedved joined his local youth club at the age of 5.
Throughout his career, Nedved acquired several nicknames based on the power of his shots. English speaking fans called him The Czech Cannon. During his extensive football career in Italy, he garnered the name Furia Cece or Czech Fury. In his home nation, Nedved is often referred to as 'med'a' which means little bear.
The Czech Cannon's Club Career
From the age of five, Nedved played for youth clubs across the Czech Republic. He spent the majority of his youth playing for TJ Skalna, his local club. As he began to approach adulthood, Nedved transferred to the youth program at Skoda Pizen. It was here that he played his first minutes of professional football. His first two years on FC Viktoria were nothing to write home about. During his rotation into the team, Nedved did not score while on the team. Nedved was quickly put on loan and picked up by Dukla Prague, a club run by the army. While on loan in Prague from 1990 to 1992 for his military service, Nedved only scored 3 goals as an attacking midfielder. After his military service was completed, Nedved was sold by Pizen and picked up by Sparta Prague.
Nedved spent four years on Sparta. During his time he scored 23 goals and started to establish his dual footed attack. Nedved's play at Sparta was heavily reliant on his ability to cross the ball well. While at Sparta, Nedved contributed to the club's league victory. Nedved also helped the club win two more league titles in his four-year stint. With Nedved, in the midfield, Sparta was also able to clinch the Czech Cup in the 1995-96 season. After becoming well established as a force on the pitch during his time at Sparta, Nedved was transferred to VSS Kosice. It was clear that this transfer was only in place to save Sparta from paying a high fee to Nedved's previous club. Nedved was then immediately sold to Italian powerhouse, Lazio in the summer of 1996.
Nedved began contributing to Lazio's side immediately, scoring his first goal a month after joining the club. In his first season at Lazio, Nedved would go on to score a significant 7 goals. In his second season with the club, he increased his output immediately by scoring 4 goals in a three-game streak at the start of the season. Nedved helped the club maintain a 24-match unbeaten streak from November to April of the following year. Nedved and his club would go on to win the Coppa Italia and reach the final of the UEFA Cup. The following season, Nedved and his club started strong by winning the Supercoppa Italiana. Nedved contributed to that game by scoring the difference-maker over his future club, Juventus.
Later that season he scored the final goal to ever go in during the UEFA Winners' Cup where Lazio defeated Mallorca 2-1. In 1999, Nedved helped his club defeat Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup. The 1999- 2000 season would prove to be one of Nedved's best as Lazio won both the Serie A title and another Coppa Italia. Later in the same year, Nedved would go on to win his second Supercoppa with Lazio. Nedved scored 33 goals for Lazio during his five years with the club.
In July of 2001, Nedved was transferred to Juventus to replace another legendary midfielder, Zinadine Zidane. In his first two seasons with the club. Nedved contributed to two Serie A League championships. Nedved's scoring and dominance in the midfield defined Juve's play style in a post-Zidane world. During the 2002-03 season, Nedved was a force on the pitch and in the Italian Footballer's Association. Unhappy with the union's limit on non-EU members, Nedved quit in protest. Later that year, Nedved led Juventus to the UEFA Champions League Final. However, Juve lost the match in a penalty shootout to Milan.
Nedved was not able to play in the game, due to the number of yellow cards he received throughout the tournament. This did not stop Nedved from winning the highest honor in football, the Ballon d'Or. 2003 also saw Nedved's first "World Footballer of the year" title.
Unfortunately, Nedved was injured in the following season and had to sit out of play for two months. Despite his injury, Juventus went on to win the league again in 2005. The title would later be taken away due to the cheating scandal that was uncovered at Juventus. Even after the club was relegated, Nedved stayed loyal to Juve. He moved to the left-winger position and scored 11 goals to get Juventus back to Serie A football. Nedved retired from the club at the end of the 2008-09 season with a victory against his former club Lazio. Throughout his eight years at Juventus, he wore some of the most iconic classic Juventus football shirts to score a total of 51 goals for the club.
In 2017, Pavel Nedved returned to play a single game for FK Skalna. His son was a member of the team and Nedved wanted to fulfill his dream of playing side by side with his son.
Nedved played his first match for the Czech Republic National Football team in the summer of 1994. In the European tournament of 1996, Nedved scored his first goal for his nation. He was named man of the match in the Semi-final against France. He Played in Euro 2000, but the team did not make it out of the group stage. It was after this tournament that Nedved took on the role of captain. He played an instrumental part in the early stage of Euro 2004 but was substituted from later games due to a knee injury. Nedved returned from retirement to lead the Czech Republic in the 2006 World Cup. The team started strong with a victory over the United States but did not end up making it out of the group stage.
The Trophy Cabinet
Nedved's trophy Cabinet is extensive and shows the spoils of a truly global footballer. During his time at Sparta Prague, Nedved contributed to three League 1 titles. He also helped his club lift the Czech Cup in 1996. At Lazio, Nedved contributed to a Serie A championship. He also earned two Coppa Italias, two Supercoppa Italias, A UEFA Cup Winner's Cup, and a UEFA Supercup.
Nedved's true accomplishments came during his time at Juventus. It was here that he contributed to two Serie A titles and one Serie B title. He lifted two Suppersoppas Italiana in back to back years. In 2003, Nedved had a stand out year being named the Serie A Footballer of the year and the Serie A Foreign Footballer of the year. He was also named the World Soccer Awards Player of the Year and the UEFA Club Best Midfielder. It was this year where Nedved also hoisted the Ballon d'Or, the highest honor in football. Classic Juventus Football shirts from this time are indicative of Nedved's dominance.
Throughout his time at Juventus, Nedved shared the pitch with legendary footballers.
Alessandro Del Piero
Del Piero and Nedved dominated the bulk of scoring throughout their time at Juve. Del Pierro was heavily responsible for finishing Nedved's iconic crosses.
The legendary keeper Buffon was in net during Nedved's time at Juventus. Buffon was also responsible for blocking Nedved's strikes when they faced off in Euro 2000.
The legendary center-back shared a pitch with Nedved while playing for Lazio. The two frequently connected for passes and assists.
Thuram and Nedved shared the pitch at Juventus and connected on several passes. Thurman was also responsible for shutting Nedved down in the Euro 2000 tournament.
Where Is He Now
After hanging up his boots, Nedved has continued to contribute to European football. In 2010, Nedved was offered a spot on Juventus' Board of Directors. In 2015, Nedved was promoted to vice-president of the board. He continues to lead the board at Juventus to this day. In his free time, Nedved watches his son play for FK Skalna and has taken up marathon running.
Classic football shirts from Nedved's career are incredibly valuable, not only in the Czech Republic but around the globe. Nedved's aggressive playstyle captured the heart of thousands of football fans around the world.