Visitors to Prague’s main Olšanské cemetery were treated to a somewhat strange sight last Saturday as Glasgow Celtic and Prague Slavia football fans congregated at one specific grave to the tune of a mournful bagpipe. They were paying homage to a Scotsman, Johnny Madden, a legend for both clubs who coached Slavia Prague for 25 years from just after the start of the 20th century to its third decade and took them to the top in Czech and European football.
Tomáš Rosický, once regarded as one of Europe’s most promising young footballers, has just undergone Achilles tendon surgery in the latest in a long series of injury setbacks. Now 36, Rosický says he hopes to return for Sparta Prague next season. However, the former Dortmund and Arsenal midfielder has spent less than 20 minutes on the pitch since returning to his boyhood club last year. I asked football journalist Michal Petrák whether he believed Rosický would ever play again.
Pavel Nedvěd, former Czech national football team captain and the best footballer of his generation, has appeared on a special set of coins, celebrating Czech football legends. Issued by the Czech Mint in Jablonec nad Nisou, the series already features 10 legendary Czech and Czechoslovak footballers, including Antonín Panenka and Josef Masopust. Part of the proceeds from their sale is used to support retired football internationals.
Christmas came early for Czech tennis fans on Monday with a visit to Prague by tennis great Roger Federer, along with Tomáš Berdych, to promote the inaugural edition of the Laver Cup (named after Australian legend Rod Laver). The new tournament will be held in Prague in September, two weeks after the US Open, pitting six top European players against the best of the Rest. The world, that is.