He shone alongside the stellar Ballack. It would be interesting if we met now, says Culek

He shone alongside the stellar Ballack. It would be interesting if we met now, says Culek
He shone alongside the stellar Ballack. It would be interesting if we met now, says Culek

The former under-21 representative in Belgium played a total of 158 matches in the first league. He started playing football in his native Liberec, with whom he advanced to the top league in 1993 under coach Vlastimil Petržela.

“It was nourishing under coach Petržela. I was a young guy, he came with big demands. I remember one of the first camps in Lučany, where the snow was knee-deep and we ran like horses in it. Such a scrawny, Martin Hašek, was ahead of us by one or two laps. And the coach kept yelling at us: You lazy bastard, run!” smiles Culek after more than thirty years.

“With the passage of time, I remember it fondly,” he admits. “His motto was that on Tuesday after training we could easily go to the pub to strengthen the group, but the next day we all had to come. Once it happened that one player did not come and punished everyone who came so that almost everyone vomited. He didn’t want to punish us for being somewhere, but the principle was that we would all leave and we would all come to keep the group together. It had its charm. Then you fight for each other on the field,” he says about the long-ago trouble with former teammate Dalibor Slezák.

“At the disco, he got into a cross with another group. Dalibor was a boy from Ostrava who was not afraid of anything. He went for it and it turned out badly. We thought he was at home in quotation marks under the covers and feeling sick, but the poor guy was in the hospital,” he reveals.

Photo: Archive of Richard Culk, Sport.cz

Richard Culek in Chemnitz with star Michael Ballack.

In 1995, he moved from Liberec to second division FC Chemnitzer. At the time, the specialist magazine Kicker included him among the best purchases of the competition. “I played in midfield with Michael Ballack, a huge icon of German football,” he notes. In the podcast, he then describes what it was like to work in the same team with the later captain of the German national football team. And he remembers his long-term work in Belgium, where he wore the jersey of a total of three clubs.

By the way, in Lommel, connected to Manchester City, they are still persuading him to cooperate. Today, 49-year-old Culek still plays for FK Kralupy 1901 in the 1st A class. He makes a living selling furniture. His son Ondřej plays hockey for Sparta juniors.

Ancient and quite recent history in the narrative of football personalities.

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The article is in Czech

Tags: shone stellar Ballack interesting met Culek


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