Pavel Nedvěd (August 30, 1972) - former Czech football player and national team member
Pavel Nedvěd is without a doubt one of the best midfielders of all time. After Josef Masopust, he is the second Czech footballer to have won the Ballon d’Or. Born in Cheb, he grew up in a nearby town Skalná, where he also took up football, and later played for Cheb and Pilsen. At the beginning of his senior career, he played in Dukla Prague, where he was doing his military service, after which he moved to Letná Stadium of Sparta Prague. With Sparta, he won the league three times, including one time before the division of the Czechoslovak First League, and became the key player not only in the club but also in the Czech national football team. He was present during the sensational journey of the national team to the Euro 1996 Final, after which he moved to Rome-based Lazio.
While playing in Rome, he became the last player ever to score a goal in UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup when he secured Lazio a 2–1 victory against Mallorca in 1999. In summer 1999 he helped his team defeat Manchester United 1–0 in the UEFA Super Cup. In the following year, he won the Serie A title as well as the Italian cup competition Coppa Italia and shortly after he could celebrate his second victory in the Italian Super Cup.
Nedvěd was one of the biggest stars of Serie A; he had excellent physical endurance as well as technical skills. He was famous for his dangerous crosses from the left side of the pitch but he also scored important goals. After five years in Lazio, he was transferred again, this time to Juventus of Turin. He helped the last team of his professional career reaches the Champions League Final in 2003. However, he missed the penalty shoot-out loss to A.C. Milan due to yellow card suspension. After the season, he won the Ballon d’Or, which is awarded to the best footballer in Europe, being preferred to Thierry Henry and Paolo Maldini. With Juventus, Nedvěd won twice Serie A and twice the Italian Super Cup.
He played at his third Euro in 2004, winning third place with the national team. Two years later he participated in his only World Cup, but the Czechs were eliminated in the group stage. Nedvěd ended his extraordinary career in the summer of 2009. In the following year, he was appointed a member of Juventus Board of Directors and five years later he became its vice-chairman.