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Friday, 6 September, 2002, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Injury ends Moravcik career
Lubo Moravcik
Lubo Moravcik was much loved at Celtic Park
Veteran former Celtic midfielder Lubomir Moravcik has retired from football only two months into his stay in the Japanese league.

An ankle injury has forced the 37-year-old Slovakian to end his 19-year career.

Moravcik won his second Scottish championship medal in a row with Celtic last season.

But he had been used increasingly sparingly by manager Martin O'Neill and decided he did not wish to remain in Glasgow if he was not guaranteed a first-team place.

He signed a six-month deal with JEF United Ichihara but played just three matches for the J-League club before the ankle injury brought about a premature end to his new adventure.

A gifted ball player and free-kick specialist, Moravcik was a member of the Czechoslovakia squad that reached the quarter-finals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

He was also a great success in his four-year spell at Celtic Park.

Many said "Lubo who?" when he was brought to Scotland from German side MSV Duisburg for just 300,000 by then boss and fellow Slovakian Dr Jo Venglos.

But the former Bastia player went on to prove the doubters wrong and helped O'Neill's side to successive league titles in 2001 and 2002.

Moravcik had been looking forward to displaying his skills in the warmth of the Japanese sunshine and again working with former international boss Venglos at Ichihara.

See also:

07 May 02 | Scotland
06 Sep 02 | Sunderland
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