Istanbul hero Smicer retires from football

Vladimir Smicer, who scored the second of Liverpool’s three goals in a remarkable second half comeback in the 2005 European Cup Final against AC Milan, has retired from football at the age of 36.

Smicer, signed by Gerard Houllier in the summer of 1999 for £4.2million from Lens following the departure of Steve McManaman to Real Madrid, will now take over as manager of the Czech Republic national team.

Smicer won a collection of trophies in his six years at Anfield, culminating in the Champions League triumph in Istanbul in 2005, before he was left for Bordeaux that summer. His goal and subsequent celebrations mean Vladi will always be fondly remembered on Merseyside.

Since then Smicer has returned to the club he began his career, Slavia Prague and faced injury problems, meaning he’s only made 23 appearances for the club since his return in 2007.

“I am not able to help Slavia on the field. I can no longer give it 100 percent,” he said in a statement upon his retirement. “My head and my heart want me to carry on but my body says no.”

Good luck in your new job, Vladi.