Whether it was known as Czechoslovakia, Czech Republic, or Czechia, there is no denying that this central European powerhouse has always been a hotbed for football talent. Throughout the late 90’s and much of the 2000s, the Czech national side was one of the top-ranked sides on the planet. No wonder then that many of them ended up playing in the Premier League with 27 players having appeared in the English top-flight over the past 30 years. Some players have enjoyed their time winning trophies galore whilst others have earned a cult following among their loyal fans. So just who are the best Czech footballers in Premier League history?
5 best Czech footballers in the Premier League
Patrik Berger (Liverpool, Portsmouth, Aston Villa)
Spending almost a decade in the Premier League, Patrik Berger enjoyed a great deal of success in England. The tricky winger was known for his mazy runs and excellent left foot. Not afraid to get on the goal sheet either, Berger was dangerous in all facets of his attacking play with the best return of 9 goals in 37 games for Liverpool in the 1999/2000 season.
He moved on to both Pompey and Villa and his total of 38 goals is the most scored by a Czech player in English history. Throw in the fact that he was named Czech Footballer of the year in 1996 too shows that Berger’s legacy in English football will remain for some time to come.
Pavel Srníček (Newcastle United, Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth)
Always a team player, Pavel Srníček was never going to be the superstar wherever he played. What he lacked in charisma, he made up for in his core skills and this made him a regular in the English top-flight for 15 years. He was a regular for Newcastle in the early days of the Premier League but injuries and the emergence of Shay Given saw him fall out of favour at St James Park.
He rejuvenated himself late in his career with Portsmouth with some strong cameo appearances before moving to West Ham in 2004. Sadly, Srníček passed away from a heart attack aged 47 in 2015 however his hard-working nature made him a respected part of the Premier League community for well over a decade.
Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal)
Rated as one of the best midfielders in Europe during the 2000’s, many Arsenal fans were encouraged by the signing of Tomas Rosicky. Rosicky didn’t disappoint either with his surging runs and powerful strikes earning him a strong following amongst the Arsenal faithful.
His striking ability from distance led the diminutive midfielder to score memorable goals against both Spurs and Manchester United. Whilst injuries disrupted a fair chunk of the decade he spent in North London, Rosicky ended his career with a full guard of honour in his final game for Arsenal in 2016 and is still looked on fondly by many Gunners’ fans.
The 3x Czech Footballer of the Year and 2x FA Cup winner certainly earned his decade of glory with a bang and is unquestionably one of the finest Czech footballers of the Premier League era.
Vladimir Smicer (Liverpool)
During his 6-year spell at Anfield, Smicer was a vital part of an attacking unit that terrorized teams across Europe. Known for powerful long shots and the ability to run at defenders, Smicer filled the void left by his compatriot, Patrik Berger, with some ease.
His outstanding moment came in the famous 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan where his long-range strike brought Liverpool to within one goal of Milan and for converting the winning penalty in the shootout. Add to the fact that Smicer ended his Anfield career with winners medals from all major competitions except the Premier League – it means that “Vladi” can look back very fondly on his time in England
Petr Cech (Chelsea, Arsenal)
When Petr Cech joined Chelsea from Rennes in 2004, no-one thought he would be as successful as he was. With or without his trademark headgear, Cech caught the eye with lightning-fast reaction saves and startling agility. It was this skill set that made him a vital part of the success Chelsea enjoyed under Roman Abramovich’s ownership winning 4 Premier League titles whilst at Stamford bridge.
Cech’s consistently strong performances made him a hit with opposition fans and managers even when he moved to Arsenal in 2015. His form continued with The Gunners too solidifying an area of their squad that was weakened for some time before retiring in 2019 and becoming Chelsea’s goalkeeping coach.
His records still stand strong, with his 24 Clean Sheets in the 2004/05 season an all-time Premier League record and the 4 Golden Glove Awards also a joint league record (shared with Joe Hart). Add to the fact that he is a record 9x Czech Footballer of the Year winner too and you have one of the best goalkeepers of world football to play this century.
Not only is Cech one of the best Czech footballers to play in the Premier League, he is arguably the league’s best ever goalkeeper.
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