The greatest Slovakian players in Premier League history
Despite being one half of the powerhouse Czechoslovakia nation that often dominated 20th century football, Slovakia is often written off as a minnow in footballing terms. Yet, the central European nation has been a constant source of top talent to many European leagues – including the Premier League. Over the past few decades, 19 Slovakian players have appeared in the English top flight for an array of sides – both title contenders and relegation battlers. So just who are the best Slovakian players to shine in the Premier League?
Szilard Nemeth (Middlesbrough)
Perhaps Slovakia’s biggest star of the early 2000s, Szilard Nemeth enjoyed a healthy spell in the Premier League with Middlesbrough. Having moved to Teesside in 2001 from Inter Bratislava, Nemeth’s mazy runs and precise finishing made a handful in any penalty area. His best form came in the 2003-04 season where he scored 8 goals in the season finishing as the club’s joint top scorer in the league as they finished 11th in the league. Nemeth left in 2006 to join French side Racing Strasbourg after scoring 23 times in 117 games for the club.
Vladimir Kinder (Middlesbrough)
The first Slovakian to play in the Premier League, Vladimir Kinder always knew how to make timely contributions for his sides. During his time in England, Kinder played for Middlesbrough as they battled for relegation in two different seasons. Despite being a defender, Kinder was often keen to get forward and scored five times in just 25 appearances for Middlesbrough. This set a precedent that saw Kinder listed as a valuable asset for the side in his three seasons on Teesside. After Middlesbrough were relegated in 1999, he left to join side Drnovice in the Czech Republic and forge a career closer to home.
Marek Cech (West Brom)
As a player who could play centrally or on the wing, Marek Cech was a useful player to have no matter where he played on the pitch. For West Brom, he featured as both a defender and midfielder for several seasons bouncing between the Premier League and the Championship. Cech got an extended run with West Brom in the 2010-2011 season. Despite The Baggies being relegated in 2011, Cech was seen as a valued member of the squad although that did not prevent him joining Turkish side Trabzonspor later that year.
Martin Dubravka (Newcastle)
Martin Dubravka’s career has seen him rise to the occasion on any opportunity presented to him and that was clear the moment he joined the Premier League. After an initial loan spell with Newcastle, Dubravka joined permanently from Sparta Prague in 2018 after outshining Tim Krul the previous season. Dubravka’s fierce determination and agility saw him grow into one of Newcastle’s most reliable players game after game. His excellent consistency saw him named Newcastle’s Player of the Year in 2020 underling his value to the club. It also drew interest from other top teams and Dubravka ended up leaving Newcastle in 2022 to join Manchester United.
Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)
Few players had a stare as menacing as Martin Skrtel and his overall gameplay shut attackers down in any one-on-one showdowns. Skrtel joined Liverpool from Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg in 2008 and wowed The Kop with his aerial dominance and excellent passing skills. His superb heading skills also made him a threat from set-pieces as proven in the 2013-14 season where he scored 7 goals. All this combined to show that Skrtel was an elite defender in world football underlined by being named Liverpool’s Player of the Year in 2012. This also came alongside 4 Slovakian Footballer of the Year awards underling just why Skrtel is one of the best Slovakian players of the modern generation.