Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedvěd has revealed that he will retire in June regardless of what the Bianconeri achieve this season.
“I’m still enjoying playing but considering my physical and mental condition I understand that the time has come to make way for younger players – they deserve to play,” said Nedvěd, European Footballer of the Year in 2003. “Maybe you think I’m still young but I’m almost 37. I will quit at the end of the season, no matter how well we do in the Champions League or Serie A. The decision is final and I don’t think I will change my mind – I don’t need to. It is the right time to quit.”
Juve may think otherwise. The former Czech international made his announcement after recording his seventh UEFA Champions League appearance of the campaign as the Italian side slipped to a 1-0 defeat by Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge in the first knockout round first leg. Nedvěd, who has been in Turin since a €41m switch from S.S. Lazio in 2001, has unfinished business in the competition having missed the 2003 final loss to AC Milan through suspension. Nor are his aspirations of claiming a winners’ medal over yet, despite the setback in west London. “I would love to finish my career with victory in the Champions League,” he said. “We haven’t got a good result tonight but it’s not over yet. Anything can happen in the return. I think it is 55-45 to them right now. It will be difficult, but not impossible.”
Nedvěd landed the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup with Lazio in 1999 and the Scudetto the following season. He has added two more Serie A titles during his time at Juventus, as well as countless personal honours and 91 international caps. How he will follow up such a glittering career is still undecided. “I haven’t talked with Juventus about either a new contract or a role at the club,” he explained. “However, I think they suspect that I will quit. I have talked a lot with my wife and she is a bit tired too. I need to spend more time with my family who have supported me for so many years. For now I will focus on giving my all in the last three months of the season.”