Pavel Nedved, the Czech international football captain, has won perhaps the most prestigious award in his sport, the magazine France Football's Golden Ball for European Player of the Year. Nedved, who plays for the Italian club Juventus, won the poll of sports journalists from around the continent by some margin, and his win has generated great excitement here in the Czech Republic.
Czech footballer Pavel Nedved, mid-fielder for Juventus Turin and captain of the Czech national team, has been voted the best Czech sportsman of the year. Nedved becomes the first football player to be awarded the Czech title. He replaces freestyle aerials skier Ales Valenta on the throne. Cross-country world champion Martin Koukal came in second, while ice hockey player Milan Hejduk was third. In the category of teams, the award was given to the national football team under coach Karel Brueckner. The Best Sportsman of the Year title has been awarded every year since 1959.
Czech ice hockey megastar Jaromir Jagr has had mixed fortunes this season: after returning to form, the Kladno-born player is now out of action until the end of January after busting his thumb. Meanwhile, his Washington team-mate Robert Lang has returned to the top of the NHL points rankings. Czech football captain Pavel Nedved came fourth in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards, but will he get Europe's Golden Boot next week? And cross-country skier Katerina Neummanova is looking forward to experiencing pre-race nerves once again, after taking
The Czech swimmer Ilona Hlavackova has won gold and silver medals at the European Short Course Championships in Dublin: she tells us she couldn't have wished for a better Christmas present. In football's Champions League Sparta Prague have drawn holders AC Milan: Sparta's chairman is relishing the prospect. Jiri Welsch is going strong in basketballs' NBA, while upcoming Czech ice hockey star Jiri Hudler has scored his first goal in the NHL.
Against the odds Sparta Prague have made the last 16 of football's most prestigious club competition, the Champions League. Marek Kincl, whose last minute goal against Lazio led to joyous scenes at Letna on Tuesday, says it was nothing less than the fulfilment of a childhood dream. Meanwhile, Lazio's Jaap Stam rues his side's missed chances. In other football news, Miroslav Beranek has stepped down as manager of Slavia, while in ice hockey Pardubice's long undefeated run came to an end on Tuesday.
There is no doubt at all as to who is the hero of the day - and even readers who have scant interest in sports will not be able to ignore the big news:Sparta's stunning upset against Lazio Rome on Tuesday, a game in which fans were kept on tenterhooks until the 93rd minute. Marek Kincl managed to score in the dying seconds of the game and most papers carry front pages photos of the star just moments after the goal which opened the door to the next stage of the Champions League in the spring.
Last year Martin Koukal shot to fame with gold at the Cross Country Skiing World Championships. This year, however, things have not been going to well for the young star, who came 45th in the latest round of the World Cup on Sunday. In football, the Czech Republic have once again drawn the Netherlands, this time in their qualifying group for the 2006 World Cup. Meanwhile, Lazio have arrived in Prague ahead of Tuesday's crucial Champions League tie against Sparta. In ice hockey, Pardubice are really pulling away from the rest of the Extraliga: after
Will a dispute over rights prevent television coverage of the Czech-held 2004 World Ice Hockey Championships? There has been no change at the top of the Czech Extraliga. In football, wonderboy Vaclav Sverkos has made the headlines by getting three goals against the best defence in Germany, while another young Czech sportsman has described his first taste of Formula 1 as "fantastic".
Against the odds, Teplice have beaten last year's winners Feyenoord to reach the third round of football's UEFA Cup, while Slavia Prague's failure to score against Levski in Bulgaria spelled their end in the competition. Sparta Prague, meanwhile, kept their dream of advancing to the knock-out stage of the Champions League alive by drawing away to Chelsea. Czech Robert Lang is heading the points table in ice hockey's NHL, and things seem to be on the up for the only Czech basketball player in the NBA, Jiri Welsch.
The leading Czech skier Katerina Neummanova has finally received the silver and bronze medals she won at the last Winter Olympics after a Russian who finished ahead of her was found to have taken drugs. Meanwhile, Jiri Raska - who won gold and silver medals at the 1968 Winter Olympics - has been named Czech skier of the century. In football, Sparta Prague go into the winter break some distance behind Ostrava, after being beaten by Jablonec. Czech born tennis legend Martina Navratilova has maintained her incredible 28-year Fed Cup unbeaten record,
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