Who reading this knows of Milan Baros’ current whereabouts? Nope, me neither. The former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker seems to have seen his career filter out since his time in England.
You may be wondering why I’m going on about a player that for some of you, you may not have even heard of. But for me, Baros was one of my favourite players growing up.
I liked the way he played. He was always in the right place at the right time to poke the ball into the net from six yards out. I liked the fact he wore the number five jersey instead of the traditional number nine or ten at Liverpool. He was perhaps the first striker I actually watched in great depth as I grew up.
For those readers that need some background on whom I’m talking about. Milan Baros is a former Czech Republic international who scored 41 goals in 93 games for his country. He made his international debut in 2001 against Belgium in a friendly match. He scored on debut. He retired from national duties after the European Championships in 2012. One of his career highlights is winning the golden boot at Euro 2004 where he scored 5 goals.
As for his club career, the Czech News Agency described him as “the star of the Czech league” when he was at a young age. Baros attracted a lot of attention from clubs around Europe. Liverpool successfully landed Baros in 2002. The Czech helped the reds to their League Cup win in 2003 and European triumph in 2005 before moving to Aston Villa. Spells in France with Lyon and a loan to Portsmouth followed before he moved to Turkish giants Galatasaray in 2008. Milan made 93 appearances for the team (scoring 48 goals) from Istanbul but after Euro 2012 he was frozen out of the side. He left Istanbul in February 2013.
This is where the trail had begun to fade. But I researched and found out that Milan Baros has actually been in his native Czech Republic playing for the team that signed him as a 12 year old. FC BanÍk Ostrava were the first team that Baros turned out for as a youngster coming through the ranks.
I know what your thinking. Who on earth are FC BanÍk? Well they are a team that was formed in 1922. Their past honours include three domestic titles (back when the eastern part of Europe was known as Czechoslovakia). They won the Intertoto Cup seven times between 1970-1989. More recently they won the Czech league in 2004 and Czech cup in 2005.
With a stadium capacity of just over 10,000 and a tight budget, FC BanÍk finished mid table last season (10th). Baros admitted he was close to hanging up his boots before rejoining his former team but stated: “At first I was in two minds whether to play at all. But after three months I have felt much better. I began to miss football again. If I had no appetite and didn’t physically feel good, I certainly would have thought about retirement”.
Baros’ agent Pavel Paska added in by saying: “With BanÍk we agreed on the contract. Milan wanted to come back to Ostrava, three minutes we were done. Though Europe knew that Milan was injured, we got four other offers, both from India, United Arab Emirates and also Italy. But this was not all about money.”
Baros has yet to make an appearance for BanÍk since returning. He has been recovering from damaging his cruciate ligaments playing in Turkey last December.
I’m glad to hear Milan is playing still though. He might not be playing for one of the giants of Europe, but at least he is happy playing back in Czech Republic. Like the old saying goes- there is no place like home.