By Christopher KL Lau
Vladimír Šmicer was a long term mainstay and driving force for the Czech Republic and Liverpool though he is synonymous and will be forever associated with the one of the greatest sports moments in history, namely, Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League victory over AC Milan in Istanbul. Šmicer has had a long and distinguished career for both club and country though his goal for Liverpool in the 2005 final, still remains an amazing memory for both him and countless millions of others around the world.
Šmicer is in Hong Kong to play in the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens www.hksoccersevens.com for the Citi All Stars team over the coming weekend. Šmicer took time to chat about his experiences in Hong Kong and how he thinks Liverpool will do in the upcoming season.
This is your first Hong Kong Soccer Sevens. Have you been to Hong Kong before and what are you expecting from your playing time here and Hong Kong itself?
Yes, I have been to Hong Kong before and actually a few times already. The first time I was here was in 2003 with Liverpool as we had a pre-season game here and we played against a Hong Kong select eleven and I have been here a few times with friends just visiting but now after a long time, I have come back to play in the Hong Kong Sevens and we will see how it goes.
I have heard the Soccer Sevens is a big tournament with a youth tournament and older teams playing as well, I think it is going to be very competitive and the pitch is big and we are not fit as we used to be so it can be very tough for us.
Unfortunately Liverpool lost in the Europa League, do you think despite that, Liverpool can really challenge for the title next season?
Yes, it was a pity that they (Liverpool) lost as this means Liverpool will not be playing in the Champions League next season so that is a big disappointment. I think I am positive regarding the future because I think Jurgen Klopp brings a lot of new things to Liverpool and he can get the best out of the players and if he can sign two to three good players then Liverpool can challenge for the title for sure. We can look at Leicester as no one expected them to be so good but they are. I wish we can be in the top three next season.
You have so many incredible achievements in your football career, surely the most outstanding one for you was scoring in the Champions League Final in 2005?
Yeah, that was my highlight as it was at the end of my career, well not at the end but close to the end of my career. I was 32 years old and winning the Champions League with Liverpool, after a game like that in Istanbul was definitely a highlight of my career.
Vladimír Šmicer will play for Citi All Stars in the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens