Czech soccer legend Antonin Panenka was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a Prague hospital after contracting COVID-19, reported the Bohemians, the club in which he played the most games.
“Antonín Panenka was in serious condition today and has been transferred to the UCI. We will not comment on his condition yet. Tondo, fight!” The Prague club wrote on social media about the 71-year-old former footballer.
UPDATE: U Antonína Panenky byla před malou chvílí potvrzena nákaza koronavirem. Jedná se or aktuální test. https://t.co/F9JUKsK5sD
– Bohemians Praha 1905 (@ bohemians1905) October 7, 2020
Panenka began his sports career with the Bohemians in 1968 and played 678 games with the Verdiblanco team until 1981, when he signed for Rapid Vienna, the club where he ended his career in 1985.
He was international with the selection of the defunct Czechoslovakia on 59 occasions, in which he scored 12 goals.
Known for his unmistakable mustache, Panenka became a star when he scored a penalty with a soft, choppy hit down the middle in the final of the 1976 Yugoslavia Euro Cup.
That goal gave his country the title in the final against Germany and gave him a place in football history by naming one of the most imitated and risky shots from the eleven meters.
“I had practiced it for two years before. I just realized that all the goalkeepers always jumped to one side or the other, so it would be nice to throw it down the middle,” he said on one occasion.