Interview: Lukáš Zelenka
During a quiet groundhopping weekend, Lukáš Zelenka was ready to have a small chat with me and to answer my questions.
The Czech midfielder, born in 1979, came through the youth system of Sparta Praha and went to RSC Anderlecht at the age of 17 where he only played 3 games in the first team. After 1 season in Brussels, he left RSC Anderlecht for KVC Westerlo. Lukáš played 3 season in Westerlo, playing 77 games and scoring 9 times.
After 3 very succesful years in Westerlo, he returned to Sparta Praha, as the club paid € 800.000. Back in Praha, the midfielder had the best period in his career, playing 114 games and scoring 19 goals, including a goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Champions League.
Manisaspor bought him (€2.5 million) from Praha but he only played 10 games for the Turkish side, before returning to KVC Westerlo. Back in Belgium he played another 41 games. In 2009 he went back to the Czech Republic, to 1. FC Slovácko.
After 1 season in the Czech Republic, the midfielder Honvéd Budapest in Hungary. Two seasons later, he returned to the Czech Republic to play for 1. SK Prostějov.
During his career, Lukáš Zelenka played 31 games as a youth international and managed to get 3 caps for the national Czech Republic football team.
Hello Lukáš, how are you? What do you do nowadays, do you still play football?
Hi, I'm fine. Nowadays I train little children here in Prague and yes, I still play football. I spend the last 5 years at the 3th level of Czech football.
Have you visited Belgium since you left Westerlo in 2009? Do you still have contact with people in Belgium?
Just once and yes, I still have some friends over there.
Can you tell me who is the best player you ever played with or against?
There are so many of them.. But the best ones in my team must have been Poborský, Arda Turan and Tomáš Rosický. I also played against many good players like Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham,Roberto Carlos...
Which is your all-time favourite ground or stadium, and why?
The best football ground must have been Arsenal. The pitch feels like a golf course. I also remember stadiums like FC Porto and Manchester United with 78.000 people in the stadium and a fantastic atmosphere.. I even scored there! Real Madrid is also one of the better stadiums as it it so huge and modern.
You played football in 4 different countries, which did you like the most? In which country are the fans the most fanatic?
I prefer Belgium. People in Belgium are very kind and it's a small country, which means the travels by bus to the stadiums are rather short. Westerlo was a very friendly club. But I have to say that the most fanatics were in Turkey. The supporters are a little bit crazy and when you are a football player they treat you like a king.