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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Karel Poborsky

Karel Poborsky was born in Trebon on March 30 1972.

He started playing football in local teams and made his professional debut with České Budějovice where he played until 1994. In 1994-95 he signed with Viktoria Zizkov and Poborsky helped the team reach fifth place and the final of the National cup. In 1995 he moved to Slavia Prague and thanks to his 11 goals helped his club with the title.

Then came Euro 1996 in the UK. The Czech Republic were the surprise underdogs that reached the final and were beaten by Germany in extra time. Poborsky rose to fame after his goal against Portugal when he lobbed the ball over Vitor Baia in the quarterfinals at Villa Park. That goal became a trademark and still is to this day. "I am really glad of that," he said. "That was one of the greatest moments in my career and I still really enjoy thinking about it,” he said in an interview to FIFA.

His rise to fame took him to Manchester United in 1997 but he was unlucky. His arrival coincided with the explosion of David Beckham so he did not play as much as he could have. He however won the Premiership in 1996-97 and the Charity Shield of 1996 and 1997. He left for Benfica after a season and a half and stayed in Portugal until January 2001.

Lazio had been looking for a right-winger throughout the summer transfer window in the summer of 2000. Having signed Hernan Crespo in exchange for lots of money, Almeyda and Sergio Conceicao, the Biancocelesti no longer had a right winger and were adapting Stankovic in that position. Pavel Nedved had mentioned his team mate to Sergio Cragnotti but Lazio had set their sights on Boudewijn Zenden who was playing for Barcelona. The deal seemed to have been sealed in the last hours of the calciomercato, but it fell through at the last minute.

In January Poborsky was signed by Lazio. However, the Czech international signed for only a season and a half and said right from the beginning of the negotiations that at the end of his contract he was going back to the Czech Republic and would not renew.

His first half season with Lazio was spectacular. He was exactly the player Lazio needed. He started playing after Sven Goran Eriksson resigned and Lazio immediately won at Udine. The Biancocelesti started playing much better and arrived very close to the leaders Roma. However the bad start to the season did not allow the team to go beyond a third place.

The chaos of 2001-02 and probably the thought of leaving at the end of the season translated into an awful second year for Poborsky. He was just plain terrible and the only game where he showed his class was in the last match of the season against Inter when he scored two goals and made sure that Inter would not win the scudetto.

In 2002 he went back to Sparta Prague, won two national titles and the Czech Cup. In 2005, following problems with the manager, he was loaned to České Budějovice, his original club, in the Czech second division. He helped them win promotion. In the 2006-07 season he did not play much due to injury and at the end of the season he decided to quit football.

He became the Czech Republic manager on retirement and later President of České Budějovice.

He played 53 times for Lazio (46 in Serie A, 3 in Coppa Italia and 4 in Champions League) and scored 5 goals in Serie A.

Poborsky was one of the most famous players of the new Czech Republic National Team. He played 118 times for his country (second in all time appearances behind Petr Čech) and scored 8 goals. He participated in the 2006 World Cup, Euro 1996, 2000 and 2004

Lazio Career


Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Champions League


19 (1)

19 (1)


34 (4)

27 (4)




53 (5)

43 (5)





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