Antonin Panenka is in Intensive Care where his condition is reported to be “serious”, Bohemians Praha 1905 announced today.
Via the club web page, the Czech club reported that the former player and honorary president’s health had deteriorated and he is on life-support. Bohemians Praha add that they cannot comment on Panenka’s clinical situation at the present time and have asked fans and the media to show respect during this delicate time. Later, the club explained on social media that Panenka has contracted coronavirus and is in an intensive care unit. Other clubs such as Sparta Prague and the Czech Republic national team have posted message of support on social media. The 71-year-old former player, became a football legend for inventing an ingenious method of taking penalties – a method which took his name, becoming known as a ‘Panenka-kick’. He took one of his famous spot-kicks for the first time in the 1976 European Championships, during s shoot-out between Czechoslovakia and West Germany. Panenka took the fifth, decisive penalty. If he scored, Czechoslovakia would be crowned champions. Sepp Maier was the keeper he had to beat. Watching Panenka’s run-up, the Germany keeper guessed the ball would be aimed at his left. But the Czech legend surprised him – and everyone else, by casually dinking the ball straight down the middle. Maier could only watch as the ball looped over the line. “I’d been practicing for two years before that,” Panenka later recalled. “I simply realized that all goalkeepers always either dive one way or the other, so it seemed a good idea to just kick the ball right in the center of the goal”.