Sunday, March 11, 2007

100 Person Who Shock The Kop - NO 64: Vladamir Smicer

At number 64 in our countdown of '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' is the player whose Liverpool career ended on a glorious high in Istanbul 2005 - Vladimir Smicer.
Four years after our ground-breaking '100 Days That Shook The Kop', we are delighted to invite you to enjoy our new '100 Players Who Shook The Kop' series – the definitive countdown of the 100 players who have made the biggest impact at Liverpool.

Over 110,000 supporters have all nominated their own personal Top 10 players in order of impact made and now the definitive top 100 countdown is underway.

Every player who has made the top 100 – and there are some surprises in there - will be honoured on this website via the e-Season ticket console with a specially produced video clip, including archive footage and exclusive interviews.

Since 1892 hundreds of players have represented this club but everyone has their own particular favourites so don't expect this list to be based solely on talent. The greatness of a player can be measured in many ways – obviously, his ability on the pitch is the most important, but 100 PWSTK is much more than that. It's about the impact the individuals chosen have had on this club, be it for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was because of their unique rapport with the crowd, a specific incident that has never been forgotten or anything else that has left a lasting impression.

Name: Vladimir Smicer

Years at Liverpool: 1999 to 2005
Position: Attacking midfielder

Date-of-birth: 24/5/1973
Birthplace: Decin, Czech Republic

Signed from: Lens (July 1999)

Games: 183
Goals: 19

Honours: European Cup (2005), FA Cup (2001), UEFA Cup (2001), Worthington Cup (2001, 2003), Super Cup (2001), Charity Shield (2001)

Vladimir Smicer's place in Kop folklore was forever assured on the glorious night of 25 May 2005. Coming on as a substitute for Harry Kewell, Smicer scored the Reds second goal in the memorable Champions League Final comeback against AC Milan and also scored Liverpool's last penalty in the vital penalty shoot-out. It was a sweet reward for Smicer who'd only returned to action in February that year after a lengthy spell on the sidelines. An attacking midfielder, he first shot to prominence in 1996, helping Slavia Prague reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup and then starring for the Czech Republic during their run to the final of Euro 96. A move to French club RC Lens followed, where he enjoyed more success - inspiring the club to a first ever-French title in 1997/98 – then in June 1999 he was recruited by Liverpool to fill the void left by the departure of Steve McManaman to Real Madrid. A fast and tricky wide-man, his first campaign in the Premiership was a difficult one as he struggled to come to terms with the pace of the English game and his cause was not helped a succession of injuries. The 2000/2001 season, however, saw Vladi fare much better, whether it be on the flanks or behind the front two, and he played an important role in the Reds' treble cup triumph. Unfortunately, for one of the most likeable individuals to ever pull on a red shirt, injury problems continued to plague him and, coupled with a lack of consistency, he became something of a much-maligned figure among certain sections of the crowd. Still, he had the ability to occasionally conjure up moments of magic and netted some spectacular goals during this time. None more celebrated more than his stunning long-range strike in the Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul. He left to join Bordeaux the following month but has there ever been a more dramatic ending to a Liverpool career?

Sold to: Bordeaux (June 2005)

Claim to fame: Scoring twice in the 2005 Champions League Final

Did you know? He first played at Anfield for Czech Republic during Euro 96

Where is he now? Playing for Bordeaux in France

Didi Hamann on Vladimir Smicer: "Vladi was a bit unlucky in his time here. Maybe he left it all to the last game and peaked in Istanbul. He scored a very good goal for us and then scored a penalty. He did tremendously well. He was one of the nicest guys you could meet, always friendly and always having a laugh. He was a top man."

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