The legendary Czech ice hockey goaltender Dominik Hasek made the headlines earlier this year when he returned to the NHL's Detroit Red Wings after a year in retirement. At the weekend, however, it was Hasek's brother Martin who was in the news. The former international footballer has just joined the growing number of Czechs in the Russian league, leaving Austrian club Sturm Graz for Dinamo Moscow, who are managed by former Sparta Prague coach Jaroslav Hrebik. Martin Hasek, at 34 five years younger than Dominik, said he welcomed the move.
"For me it's a chance, at my age, to play quality football and to prove my worth. And, of course, from the financial point of view I'll be a bit better off at Dinamo Moscow than in Austria. I'm flying to Moscow on January 2 and once the medical tests are completed I'll sign the contract. It's for a year plus a year, which means after the first year both sides have the option of extending the contract."
Martin Hasek isn't the only Hasek in Czech football on the move: Ivan Hasek, who has previously managed Sparta Prague and the French club Strasbourg, is due to take over at Japan's Vissel Kobe in the New Year. Hasek, a former Czech international, spent three years as a player in Japan in the mid-1990s.
Getting back to Czechs leaving for Russia for a moment, Sparta's Martin Zboncak is also due to join Dinamo Moscow, while goalkeeper Antonin Kinsky has left Liberec for Saturn Ramenskoje.
Portsmouth Former Czech international Patrik Berger proved he hasn't lost his touch with two goals, both from free kicks, for his English Premiership club Portsmouth on Boxing Day.
The Czech Under 20s team have had mixed fortunes so far at the Junior World Championships in Finland. After beating Ukraine by a whopping eight goals to nil in their opening game on Friday, the Czech youngsters lost 3:2 to Finland on Sunday, despite being 2:0 up after the first period. Captain Jiri Hudler and co. face Switzerland on Tuesday before taking on Canada on New Year's Eve.
After a two-week break the Czech Extraliga resumed on Sunday with wins for the top three teams: Pardubice, Slavia Prague and Sparta Prague. The star of the league's 34th round was Slavia's Michal Sup: the league's top-scorer got his second hat trick of the season to help his team beat Karlovy Vary 7:1.
Czech drivers Karel Loprais and Tomas Tomecek will be hoping to do well in the famous Paris to Dakar rally, which begins on New Year's Day. Loprais, who has won the truck category six times in a Czech-made Tatra, was forced out of last year's race early, after he crashed in the desert. Tomecek, formerly a member of Loprais's team, will also be driving a Tatra: he'll be aiming to at least do as well as last year, when he came second. By the way, this year's Dakar rally features the first Czech woman to take part: Jana Tylsova will be in a Toyota in the car category. The gruelling race takes in seven countries and ends on January 18.
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