Only five Slovakian internationals have played their football in England. TheFA.
Only five Slovakian internationals have played their football in England. TheFA.com takes a look at how they all fared...
Former Middlesbrough full back Vladimir Kinder was the first Slovakian international to play in English football. He gained a wealth of European experience with Slovan Bratislava, where he was voted the nation's Player of the Year on three occasions and won his first international cap.
Kinder joined Middlesbrough for £1 million in January 1997 as Bryan Robson strengthened his squad for the looming relegation battle and Cup sagas.
After making his 'Boro debut in the 3-2 FA Cup 4th Round victory over Hednesford Town, he found it hard to displace Curtis Fleming, but scored an excellent long-distance strike on his Premiership home debut in a 6-1 hammering of Derby.
Kinder then played in the 1997 League Cup Final replay against Leicester City and was a late sub in The FA Cup Fibnal against Chelsea. Featuring prominently in 'Boro's 1997-98 promotion success, he also appeared in the 1998 League Cup Final against Chelsea.
In all, he netted five goals in 37 League games overall for 'Boro before returning to Slovakia with Petrzalka in December 1999.
Striker Szilard Nemeth became the second Slovakian international to appear for Middlesbrough when he moved to the Riverside Stadium on a Bosman free transfer from Inter Bratislava in May 2001.
Previously with Slovan Bratislava and Kosice, Nemeth had been Inter's leading marksman and like Kinder was Slovakia's Player of the Year.
He was initially hampered by a hernia problem and struggled to make an impact until scoring twice in Middlesbrough's 3-0 home win against Sunderland.
Only three other Slovakian internationals have appeared in English football. Giant central defender Stanislav Varga starred for Tetran Presov and Slovan Bratislava prior to joining Sunderland for $650,000 in August 2000.
He made his Premiership debut in the opening game against Arsenal, but then suffered a torn leg muscle at Manchester City and was sidelined for a lengthy period.
Varga had limited opportunities the following season and was loaned out to West brom in March 2002, providing good cover at a crucial stage in the Baggies' successful promotion campaign. Still unable to get into the Black Cats' first team, he left for Celtic in February 2003.
Right back Igor Balis joined West Brom from Slovan Bratislava for £150,000 in december 2000. He was signed by Gary Megson to bolster his squad during a period of injuries, making his debut in that month's 3-0 win at home to Forest.
Balis featured mostly as a substitute until he replaced Des Lyttle as a first team regular during the 2001-02 promotion campaign. Scoring his first goal for the club in a 5-0 victory at home to Portsmouth in February 2002, he then netted late in the penultimate game of the season against Bradford City.
Experienced international left-back Vladimir Labant played for Slavia Sofia and Sparta Prague before joining West Ham for £900,000 in January 2002. he made his debut as a substitute in that month's FA Cup 4th Round draw at eventual finalists Chelsea, but failed to get past Nigel Winterburn for a first team place.
After 15 Premiership appearances for the Hammers, he returned to Sparta Prague on an extended loan in January 2003.
by James Wright