The transfer window, the period in which football clubs are allowed to buy players from other clubs, closes at midnight on Saturday. Just beating that deadline, Slavia Prague on Wednesday signed the creative midfielder Vaclav Kolousek from Liberec for 19 million crowns; not the largest of sums, though the player will reportedly be among the best paid in the Czech league, on eight million crowns a month. Negotiations between the two clubs dragged on for some time, and Kolousek says he is pleased an agreement was finally reached.
"I'm glad that the period of uncertainty is over, because it went on for a whole month. I'm glad I'm at Slavia. They offered me the number 21, which I had at Liberec. I turned it down though, because I'm making a new start at Slavia. That's why I've chosen the number eight."
One transfer that didn't take place during the transfer window was Tomas Rosicky's mooted move from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea. The Czech international is widely expected to leave Dortmund in the summer. In the meanwhile, the 23-year-old midfielder will be wearing the captain's armband in their first game of the spring season on Saturday.
Czech international coach Karel Brueckner has come second in a poll of the world's best managers in 2003, behind France's Jacques Santini. It's a great honour for Brueckner, though he might want to reflect on the fate of his predecessor Jozef Chovanec, who came second in the poll four years ago, after the Czech Republic didn't drop one point in their qualifications for Euro 2000. Chovanec's team subsequently went out in the group stage.
Czech ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr has had mixed fortunes since joining the New York Rangers last week. Rangers were thrashed in the forward's first game, but his second - his debut at Ranger's New York arena - was a great success, with man of the match Jagr notching up one goal and two assists in a 5:2 win over Florida. As fate would have it, on Wednesday Jaromir Jagr came up against the club he left less than a week ago, the Washington Capitals. The game didn't go well for the Kladno-born player, with Rangers losing 2:1 at home.
Another Czech hockey legend Dominik Hasek has been having a hard time of it lately. Hasek quietly returned to the Czech Republic last week for treatment on a groin strain that has kept him out of action for some time, and there have been questions as to whether he will ever return to the ice. His Czech physiotherapist described the Dominator's injury as chronic, while the goalie himself has said if it recurs his season will be over. Hasek, who is 39 today, returned to Detroit Red Wings at the start of the season, a year after announcing his retirement.
The Czech Republic will face a strong Spanish team in Brno next week, in the first round of this year's Davis Cup. Three of the Spaniards are ranked in the world's top twenty players. Jiri Novak, 14th in the world, will be the highest ranked Czech player. His team-mates will be Radek Stepanek, Tomas Berdych and doubles specialist Martin Damm.
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