Known for its castles and beers, the Czech Republic is an ever-popular stag and hen do location. The country, born after Czechoslovakia dissolved into two independent states, also happens to produce a fair few talented footballers.
Several of these Czech stars have graced the Premier League over the past couple of decades, some rather more successfully than others.
Here’s our top 5 Premier League Czechs…
5. Vladimir Smicer
Signed from French football in 1999 with the task of replacing the recently departed Steve McManaman, Vladimir Smicer was handed the coveted number 7 shirt at Anfield.
Whilst he never truly hit the heights hoped, the midfielder did win several honours, including the UEFA, FA and League Cup treble with the club in 2001.
Injuries and inconsistency hampered Smicer during his time at Anfield. He is perhaps best remembered for his contribution to Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League triumph, coming off the bench to score his side’s second as Rafael Benitez’s side came from 3-0 down at halftime to win in Istanbul.
4. Milan Baros
Liverpool 2002-2005, Aston Villa 2005-2007, Portsmouth 2008
Part of the Liverpool side crowned European champions in 2005, Baros was a talented forward who perhaps saved his best form for the international stage.
He scored goals regularly over spells with Liverpool and Aston Villa, before later winning the FA Cup during a loan spell with Portsmouth.
Baros won the Golden Boot at the 2004 European Championships as the Czech Republic surprisingly reached the semi-finals, and finished his international career with a record of 41 goals in 93 caps.
3. Patrick Berger
Liverpool 1996-2003, Portsmouth 2003-2005, Aston Villa 2005-2008, Stoke City 2006-2007 (loan)
An attacking midfielder with a sweet left foot, Berger developed a reputation for the spectacular in over a decade in English football.
Berger arrived at Liverpool in 1996 from Borussia Dortmund, having shone as the Czech Republic reached the final of Euro ’96 that summer.
Injuries blighted his time in England, but he did play in Liverpool’s 2001 final victories in the UEFA and FA Cup, providing the assist for Michael Owen in the latter.
Spells at Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Stoke followed, with a Goal of the Season contender for Portsmouth at Charlton well remembered by Premier League fanatics.
2. Tomas Rosicky
But for injury, Rosicky could perhaps have topped our list. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Mozart’ for his ability to orchestrate the midfield, Rosicky was a supremely gifted playmaker who spent a decade at Arsenal.
Capped 105 times for the national side, several long-term injuries affected his career in the Premier League, though he did make over 200 appearances for the club and was part of the team that won the 2014 FA Cup.
The three times ‘Czech Footballer of the Year’ eventually retired in 2017 after further injury problems.
1. Petr Cech
Chelsea 2004-2015, Arsenal 2015-present
Undisputedly the greatest Czech to have played in the Premier League, Petr Cech will go down as one of the all-time goalkeeping greats.
Signed from French side Rennes for a bargain £7m in 2004, Cech would go on to break Chelsea’s all-time clean sheet record with 220. His debut season saw records shatter, with a record 21 clean sheets kept and just 15 goals conceded as Chelsea won the title.
Eleven years at Chelsea brought a wealth of honours, including four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one Champions League and one Europa League title.
A four-time Premier League Golden Glove winner, Cech left to join London rivals Arsenal in 2015, where he continues to feature aged 36, and became the first goalkeeper to keep over 200 EPL clean sheets.
He retired from international duty having amassed 124 caps, and has been named Czech Footballer of the Year a record nine times.