Whenever it comes to best Czech football players or even famous Czech football players, names like Pavel Nedved or Jan Koller might come to your mind. They were indeed top non-defender Czech footballers, but in this post, we are to best Czech defenders of all time.
You might think none of the footballers on the list of best Czech defenders of all time are among famous Czech football players. That’s not something to be sure about as there are footballers on the list who although are not as famous as the two top Czech footballers mentioned above, they are still among famous Czech football players or even
best Czech football players
ever, say, like Tomas Ujfalusi.
However, if the players on the list of best Czech defenders of all time are also among Czech Republic legends in football is something you cannot be too sure about. Of course, this is something that depends on one’s own opinion - we mean if the players on the list are among Czech Republic legends in football, too, however, one or two of them, as we mentioned above, could be among best Czech football players at least in modern football history.
The list of best Czech defenders of all time starts with the 83-year-old retired Czech defender, Jan Lala, but let’s see which other footballers are on the list.
Ja! The man, as mentioned above, is 83 years old and he’s fortunately still alive. He was actually a former player of Czechoslovakia and played for the Czechoslovakian national team between 1962 and 1967 making 37 appearances and scoring one goal for them in the process. His best shot with the Czechoslovakian national team was in 1962 World Cup where the team managed to reach the competition’s final just to lose 3-1 to Brazil in the final and finish as runner-up, however, for a team like the former Czechoslovakia even reaching a World Cup final was a great achievement. During his club career, Lala served 3 Czech clubs, namely Slavia Prague, Dukla Pardubice, and Spartak Ústí nad Labem, and the Swiss club,Lausanne Sports
, for whom he made 92 appearances and scored 3 goals. Slavia Prague was the club Lala served the most during his career and in two time periods which spanned from 1955 to 1957 and 1960 to 1969 totaling to 11 years, but since it was long time ago, we don’t know how many appearances Lala made and how many goals he scored for them.
One of the only two footballers on the list of
best Czech defenders of all time
to have served both Czechoslovakian and Czech Republic national teams during his career, Jan Suchoparek is a 52-year-old retired Czech defender who currently works as the head coach of the Czech Republic U-21 team. As mentioned above, Suchoparek served both Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic national teams with the former being served by him from 1991 to 1993 during which he made 13 appearances for and the latter from 1994 to 2000 where he managed to make 48 appearances and score 4 goals for.
Just like Lala, Suchoparek also served the Czech club,Slavia Prague
, more than any other club during his career; actually for 8 years and in two time periods which spanned from 1991 to 1996 and 2002 to 2003. And as you might have guessed, he also made the most number of appearances and scored the most number of goals for the same club which totals to 149 appearances and 24 goals. This is as he served the other clubs he played for during his career at most for three years and didn’t make more than 76 appearances and didn’t score more than 9 goals for them, of course, as a single club. Suchoparek is not a very decorated footballer. He only won 4 club trophies and managed to finish as runner-up with the Czech Republic national team in Euro 1996 as Czech Republic lost 2-1 on golden goal to Germany in the competition’s final.
The first passed and the only one-club man on the list of best Czech defenders of all time, Antonin Hojer only served the Czechoslovakian club,AC Sparta Prague
, during his career which lasted for 18 years from 1913 to 1931. You might not believe, but Hojer actually scored 34 goals in his 91 league appearances for the Czechoslovakian club which means he scored 1.11 goals in every 3 appearances of his for them averagely. That looks, if you ask us, more like the average of a midfielder than a defender, but the truth is he really achieved that ratio. However, Hojer’s goalscoring abilities didn’t show up much at international level as he scored only 3 goals in his 35 appearances for the Czechoslovakian national team between 1920 and 1930 - almost one goal (exactly 0.96) in every 12 appearances.
Hojer took part in 1920 and 1924 editions of Olympic Games with his country’s national football team and finished as runner-up in the former and was eliminated in the round-of-16 in the latter. Don’t you forget that there was no World Cup or UEFA Euro at the time, so that’s Hojer’s only experience in a competitive global tournament. Hojer died in October 1964 at the age of 70.
Known as a versatile player during his play time who could also play as a winger besides his main role as a defender, Zdenek Grygera is a 42-year-old retired Czech footballer and actually the first footballer on the list of best Czech defenders of all time to have served a top European club, or better said, two top European clubs, namely Ajax and Juventus, during his career, and for quite a time: 4 years each which totals to 8 years from 2003 and 2011 comprising half of his 16-year career. He also made the most number of his club appearances for these two clubs, 78 for Ajax and 87 for Juventus, with the former being the club that got the highest share of Grygera’s goals for a single club during his career which is actually 8. This is as Grygera’s appearances for other clubs didn’t exceed 54 and his goals for them did not go beyond 3 - we mean, of course, for a single club and not altogether.
Grygera also served theCzech Republic national team
between 2001 and 2009 making 65 appearances and scoring one goal for them in the process. He was part of the Czech national team in Euro 2004 who beat both Netherlands and Germany besides Latvia in the competition’s group stage to advance as the group’s first team with 9 points but to be stopped in semi-finals by Greece on golden goal. Grygera also took part in Euro 2008 and 2006 FIFA World Cup with his country’s national team but never advanced beyond the group stage in these two competitions. The 42-year-old retired Czech defender, as mentioned above, could play also as a winger and on both wings which actually showed his tendency to get forward and have a part in his team’s offensive moves. This is as he was also considered as a solid defender with a high work rate and competitiveness. It might be interesting for you to know that Grygera soon became a fans’ favorite at Ajax especially when he scored against Ajax’s all-time rivals, Feyenoord.
famous Czech football player
s despite being a defender, Tomas Ujfalusi is a 44-year-old retired Czech footballer who served in Italy, Spain, Germany, and Turkey besides his own country, Czech Republic. The foreign clubs he served are Fiorentina (Italy), Hamburger SV (Germany), Atletico Madrid (Spain), and Galatasaray (Turkey) with Fiorentina being the club he made the most number of appearances for (134), however, Fiorentina was also the club Ujfalusi didn’t win any club trophy with while he managed to win one or two club trophies with the other foreign clubs he served during his career including a Turkish Super League title with Galatasaray and a UEFA Super Cup with Atletico Madrid. But again, we should also mention that Ujfalusi was named on Fiorentina all-time XI, too.
Ujfalusi also served the Czech Republic national team sometime between 2001 and 2009 making 78 appearances and scoring 2 goals for them in the process. Just like Zdenek Grygera, he was also part of the Czech national team in Euro 2004 and 2008 and 2006 FIFA World Cup, however, he also captained the team in Euro 2008, but unlike Grygera who received only 4 yellow cards during his international career, Ujfalusi received 9 yellow cards and a red card in his international career. He also served the Czech Republic U21 team between 1997 and 1999 during which he made 26 appearances but didn’t score any goals for them. For your information, Ujfalusi played only as a defender during his career and in center back or right back positions.
Some believe Jankulovski is among
Czech Republic legends in football
, but if not so, he’s for sure one of the most famous Czech football players and specifically defenders. Jankulovski played more than half of his career - actually 9 years - for the Italian clubs, Napoli, Udinese, and AC Milan, with Milan being the club he served the most among these three: Actually for 6 years between 2005 and 2011 during which he made a total of 154 appearances for them which is the highest number of appearances he made for a single club during his career. He also served the Czech club,Banik Ostrava
, for six years between 1994 and 2000 at the start of his career but only made 110 appearances for them across all competitions.
Unlike Ujfalusi who played only as a defender during his career, Jankulovski was a versatile player capable of playing both as a defender and winger who could contribute to his team’s attacks by his runs up the flanks. He was also a technical player known for his ability to cross the ball which could come in handy in his team’s offenses against the opposition. Maybe it is these features that explain why Jankulovski scored more goals than Ujfalusi both at club and international level - more than four times higher at club level which mounts to 47 goals in 421 appearances. Jankulovski had served Czech Republic U16 to U21 teams before he was promoted to Czech senior national team for whom he made 78 appearances and scored 12 goals between 2000 and 2009. The only individual honor Jankulovski has to his name is being called Czech Footballer of the Year in 2007. He won all his 4 club trophies with AC Milan and managed to finish third in Euro 2004 with his country’s national team.
The second earliest footballer on the list of best Czech defenders of all time after Antonin Hojer in chronological order, Frantisek Kolenaty is a passed Czechoslovakian footballer who served the Czechoslovakian national team sometime between 1929 and 1931 making 28 appearances and scoring one goal for them in the process. He was a participant in 1920 and 1924 editions of Olympics finishing as runner-up in the former edition with his country’s team. Unfortunately, there is no information at hand for which clubs Kolenaty played during his career. Besides he’s considered as a midfielder by some sources and there is a probability that he played in both positions - we mean defender and midfielder - in his footballing time. Kolenaty died in February 1956 at the age of 56.
The second and the last footballer on the list of
best Czech defenders of all time
to have served both Czechoslovakian and Czech Republic national teams during his career, Miroslav Kadlec is a 57-year-old retired Czech defender who played both as a center back and sweeper during his career and for four Czech clubs, namelyTJ Vitkovice
, RH Cheb, FC Petra Drnovice, and FC Brno, and the Bundesliga club, FC Kaiserslautern, whom he served the most during his career career: Actually for 8 years between 1990 and 1998 during which he made a total of 234 appearances and scored 17 goals for them. This is indeed the most number of appearances he made for a single club during his career but not the most number of goals as he scored 19 goals for TJ Vitkovice in his 115 appearances for them.
As we mentioned above, Kadlec served both the Czechoslovakian and Czech Republic national teams during his international career. That actually happened over a period of 10 years between 1987 and 1997 in the first 3 years of which he served the Czechoslovakian national team with 38 appearances and one goal in the end and in the rest 7 years, as you can guess, he served the Czech Republic national team with one goal in 26 appearances that he made for them. Kadlec’s best shot with both these national teams were a second place in Euro 1996 that he earned actually with the Czech Republic national team. At club level, he also didn’t achieve anything with the Czech clubs he served, but won three club trophies including two Bundesliga titles and one DFB Pokal trophy with FC Kaiserslautern. He also took part in 1990 World Cup with the Czech Republic national team and played the full 90 minutes in all the five Czech Republic matches in the competition before they were eliminated by West Germany in quarter-finals.
Considered as one of the best players in the history of the Czech club, Sparta Prague, Jaroslav Burgr is a passed Czech defender who served the same club for the majority of his career; actually for 20 years in his 26-year career which spanned from 1926 to 1946. He’s also among the few players in the history of Sparta Prague to have played as captain for them for as long as 13 years. Burgr served the Czechoslovakian national team sometime between 1929 and 1939 taking part in two editions of FIFA World Cup, namely the 1934 and 1938 editions, with them finishing as runner-up in the former as they lost 2-1 to Italy in the competition’s final and getting eliminated in the quarter-finals in the latter. He actually made 57 appearances for his country’s national team during the above-mentioned period from which around 38 took place in friendlies.
Another passed footballer on the list of best Czech defenders of all time, Ladislav Novak was a top Czech defender who served only two Czechoslovakian clubs, namely Dukla Prague and LIAZ Jablonec, during his career with the former being served by him for a major part of his career; actually for 14 years between 1952 and 1966 vs two years that he served the latter at the end of his career. During his service to Dukla Prague, Novak actually made a total of 365 appearances and scored 23 goals for them only at league level. He also won eight Czechoslovak First League titles with them.
Novak also served the Czechoslovakian national team during the same time he served Dukla Prague - between 1952 and 1966 - making 75 appearances and scoring one goal for them in the process. He actually captained the team in 71 appearances of his for them and took part in the 1954, 1958 and 1962 editions of World Cup with them finishing as runner-up in 1962 edition after losing 3-1 to Brazil in the competition’s final. After his career as a player Novak also served the Czechoslovakian national team as a coach for a short time between 1971 and 1972 and also Dukla Prague between 1980 and 1985 winning a Czechoslovak First League title with them in 1982.
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