Liverpool legend looks unrecognisable 18 years on as he appears on TV for Champions League draw
A LIVERPOOL legend looked unrecognisable as he popped up on TV for the Champions League draw.
Some fascinating ties were drawn out of the hat as Europe’s Premier competition reaches its final round.
AFPA Liverpool icon was on hand to help out with the European draws earlier today[/caption]
With Liverpool knocked out the competition on Tuesday night, their fans may have thought there would be little point tuning in to the draw.
But if they had they would seen a man who left their club back in 2005 – and who wrote himself into Reds folklore in the infamous Champions League final of that year.
The 49-year-old looks different now and any fans who missed his introduction may not have even recognised him.
The midfielder spent six years at Anfield and became a fan favourite with his knack for producing big moments.
The man in question is Vladimir Smicer, who sported a small beard and neat comb over hairdo as appeared on TV.
This was very different from the spiky hair and clean shaven look that fans will have been accustomed to in his playing days.
Smicer arrived on Merseyside in 1999 during Gerard Houllier’s reign and would make his impact felt over the years.
‘Vladi’ is best remembered for his goal in the 2005 Champions League as Liverpool staged on of European football’s most infamous comebacks against AC Milan.
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The Czech midfielder was not even in Liverpool’s starting line-up that day but had to come on as a first-half substitute after an injury to Harry Kewell.
The Reds trailed 1-0 when Smicer arrived on the pitch and it would be 3-0 by half-time.
But then the miracle began and Smicer’s brilliant strike from range was sandwiched in between goals from Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso as Rafa Benitez’s side clawed their way out of their grave.
Smicer then scored the decisive final Liverpool penalty – his last kick of the ball in a red shirt – before Jerzy Dudek saved Andriy Shevchenko’s spot-kick to seal the win.
The match would cement his legacy but Smicer also scored big goals down the years against Chelsea and Dortmund.
Only a serious injury suffered in 2003 would blight his time at Liverpool.
The star would go on to play for Bordeaux and Slavia Prague before retirement.
AFPSmicer came off the bench to help rescue Liverpool in 2005[/caption]
Smicer scored in normal time and netted a crucial penalty against AC MilanNews Group Newspapers Ltd