The revelation of the last European Championships as top scorer, Czech striker Milan Baros, has since 2004 forged himself another reputation as a problem player and partygoer, making more headlines off the pitch than on it.
But the 26-year-old still retains the confidence of Czech manager Karel Bruckner.
“I still see a great player and a great striker in him. I do not cease to count on him,” Bruckner recently assured the striker in the face of numerous escapades by the player.
Baros, a Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005, has since changed clubs almost as if they were a fashion item.
He switched to Premiership club Aston Villa from Liverpool, moved onto French giants Lyon, where he faced problems getting a regular place with rivals such as French player of the year Karim Benzema, Sidney Govou, Hatem Ben Arfa or Fred.
He has since crossed the English Channel again to Portsmouth, where he also struggles to get a first team place.
“Anyone who has worn a “Reds” shirt cannot be a mediocre player. Baros was excellent four years ago in Portugal but today he looks as though he is torturing himself on the field,” commented former international, Josef Kadraba.
Baros’ post-Portugal nightmare began almost as soon as the competition ended. He was caught by the tabloid press in the company of an ephemeral starlet at a celebration party resulting in his long standing girlfriend giving him the boot.
He has since filled the front as well as the back pages: frequently featuring because of his party jinks, caught on camera holding his nose on the pitch in the presence of Cameroon player Stephane Mbia and speeding at 271kph an hour on a French highway in his Ferrari.
“It was an excess, an indiscretion. He will calm down when he gets married,” Bruckner said of Baros.
Werner Licka, Baros’ former manager at Banik Ostrava, where he was spotted by Liverpool, is also forgiving.
“Milan’s bad luck is the bad company he keeps,” he commented on the excesses of Baros’ 2006 holidays which delighted tabloids in his home country.
It was one of the player’s so-called “friends” who sold pictures of the player, clearly the worst for wear, showing him dancing with a condom in his hair and exhibiting his manhood without shame.
“I am convinced that Baros will impose himself again. You have to have confidence in him,” Bruckner said.