Both in his country and in Italy, the 31-year-old midfielder and European Footballer of the Year is an undisputed star. Yet, the introverted and slightly built Czech is relatively unknown elsewhere.
Affectionately christened ‘The Horse’ by the Italian press, Pavel Nedved never stops running, contributing hugely to any team he plays for. This, coupled with excellent ball control, determination, the desire to win every 50-50 situation, the ability to shoot with both feet, great pace and a tactical football brain, makes this outstanding performer the perfect football player. National coach Karel Bruckner has built a young team around the star, which will be hard to stop in Portugal.
Nedved joined Lazio from Sparta Prague in 1996 and has been playing for Juventus since 2001. In his eight years in Italy, he has won two European Club trophies, two domestic cups and three championships. He has played for his country on 79 occasions, most notably when just missing out on the European Championship in England in 1996, when his team lost to Germany in the final via a golden goal. He is determined that the Czech Republic will go one better at Euro 2004. Opponents better beware of the man they call ‘Horse’.
This is the last part of our Dream Team series. From next week we will focus on the team camps here in the Algarve.