Interviews

David Limberský: It was just my time to go

Published: 7. 7. 2022
Author: Karel Černý
Photo: Photo archives of FC Viktoria Plzeň
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David Limberský stayed loyal to a single football club – Viktoria Pilsen – for a whopping thirty years (albeit with a short stint elsewhere). And so, it is no wonder that the club organized a wonderful farewell ceremony this May to mark the end of his professional career. Currently, he plays football in the third league, spends time with his family, and has multiple business ventures.

There seemed to have been some emotional moments for you at the farewell. You don't look like the emotional type…

Well, my wife did tell me that she hasn't seen me cry for her in years. [laughs] But I will sometimes get emotional even during sad movies. I might not look like it but it is true. And there was so much emotion at the farewell ceremony. I had no inkling of what they had planned. I was that much more surprised when I saw the huge jersey with my number on it unfolding over the bleachers and heard the club owner, Adolf Šádek, say that nobody else will ever don the number eight in Pilsen. It was beautiful, so powerful, it brought me to tears.

Did you feel a pang of regret that you did not stay when Viktoria won the title out of nowhere? Your wife reportedly felt you should keep playing there a while longer, after all…

True, we argued about that for almost a year, we both felt differently about it. But even the title does not change my mind. It was just my time to go, and if I stayed, perhaps things wouldn't have gone as well as they have. I was so happy to see the boys come into their own and win the title. I enjoyed it so much as a fan, although it is a completely different feeling than when you are a player. But I regret nothing, there was never even a shred of feeling like I should have been playing. I made a clean cut, it was a long-term decision based on reason, not a rash one. I felt like I was not up to it anymore. At least I spend more time at home with my wife and kids now, we even have some business plans together. There are so many activities that I have even less time now than I did when I played football.

What is the main focus of your business activities?

There's a lot. We run a Body Express studio, we build and rent properties, we have a solar panel and heat pump business, my wife runs a barber shop and sells beach wraps, I appear in the media from time to time, I have a show called Limbova Šajtle on isport.tv, there's the odd commercial… There are so many things we can hardly manage. But the main focus are the property rentals and the solar panel and heat pump business, which really took off.

You are still playing football in the Bohemian Football League for the Jiskra Domažlice club. What does it feel like, playing against your beloved Viktoria, even though it is just the B team?

My best friend is the head coach in Domažlice and the team there is great. I also wanted to take a bit of a halfway measure before stepping down completely. I might still be able to play in the first league somewhere, but I did not want to do so anywhere else than in Viktoria. We actually played Pilsen's A team in a friendly match when I started out in Domažlice. We lost "only" 4:2 and I scored a penalty goal. But it was a strange feeling. And the first time we played the Viktoria B team, I was so confused by the jerseys that I sent the first three passes their way. I still felt like the Pilsen colors were my own. [laughs]

What are the best moments of your career?

There are so many. Like when we advanced into the league with Viktoria two times, that was a huge success. And then, of course, the incredible ride that began in 2010 when we won the league cup. Then came more titles, cups, Champion's League, European League, national team games, UEFA championships… I cannot pinpoint a single moment but the three times we were in the Champion's League and the five title wins were the highlights.

And conversely, what would you rather forget?

There is one moment I would really like to forget. When I first started playing for Viktoria as a fullback, we went up against Dinamo Zagreb and lost 0:3. Two of the goals were partly my fault and I also got a red card.

You said in a radio interview that you would rather not get involved with the team in any way now that Viktoria is doing so well because you are superstitious. Did you have any pre-game rituals?

If I were to explain every detail of my pre-game routine, it would likely make up for a half-hour monolog. [laughs] There are about twenty or thirty things. Well, not anymore but there used to be. And I would always have to do them in the same order. I had to use a specific urinal at the home field in Pilsen, I tied my left shoe first, I had to first step on the field with my left foot, I would eat the same food for breakfast, I got into my car in a completely different way than I normally would… So much nonsense that it would make for a litany. But it is just something that football players do; when they are doing well, these things take on a sort of magical aura and they turn into rituals.

CV BOX

David Limberský (born October 6, 1983, in Pilsen) is a football fullback and former national team player, previously playing for Viktoria Pilsen until June 2021, currently for Jiskra Domažlice.

He found his way to Viktoria Pilsen as a juvenile in 1990 from Třemošná and has been loyal to the club for more than 30 years, barring a short hiatus. This hiatus happened between 2004 and 2005 when he was still owned by Viktoria but was on a loan in Modena, Italy, and subsequently in Tottenham Hotspur. And then in the 2007-2008 season when Sparta Prague bought him.

#Limberský played in the U20 and U21 national teams, and he appeared in the U20 world cup in 2003. His first national A-team match was a friendly game against Malta on June 5, 2009. He announced that he is stepping down from the national team in July 2016, following the European Championship in France. He played a total of 40 matches for the national A team.

#With Pilsen, he won five championship titles, two Supercups, and one Czech Cup (winning the other one with Sparta).

He studied to become a chef. He has a daughter, Natálie (14), and a son, David (11), from his previous relationship with Michaela Kratochvílová. In May 2019, he married model Lenka Olbertová, and they had a daughter, Lilien, in June 2020.


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