Ondřej Kúdela developed into one of the best stoppers in the Czech Republic at Slavia, made it to the national team, played in the Champions League and quarter-finals of the Europa League, won titles… But then he had to leave after all, when his age jumped. How does he remember the end in Eden?
Kúdela was a key player for Trpišovský, with his leadership skills he held the defense, which practically did not work without him. But last August, an unpleasant injury occurred in Karviná, which sidelined the stitched stopper for the overwhelming part of the season.
Slavia eventually lost the title because of this, while in the fall they only had two stoppers (Ousou-Kačaraba), in the spring there was a big rotation that didn’t help anything.
“Maybe the guys who played in the fall, Aiham Ousou and Taras Kačaraba, were under pressure that I was coming back with David Hovorka. I don’t know, it just comes to mind… They were fine in the fall, there’s not that much pressure yet, and I don’t want to make light of that at all, but in the spring there are crucial games and the guys saw that we’re starting to heal. It might have put pressure on them, I don’t know. In any case, on the field it seemed that everything was not as it was before, mistakes were being made that were not there before.” reflects Kúdela in an interview for iSport.
In addition, surprising news came in the summer. Slavia will not extend the contract of the stopper, who was part of the rise and all the successes of the Trpišovský era. Kúdela thus headed to Jakarta, while wanting to stay in Eden.
“No, I didn’t want to leave Slavia. I guess it was meant to be. I also wondered why. I knew I was old, of course, no tree grows to the sky, that’s how it is in life, it had to change, rejuvenate, they brought in Santos, who is more perspective. We only talked to Jirka Bílek, who said that I was too old, that he was not in favor of it. I say okay, I respect that,” Kúdel makes it clear that he wanted to continue in Slavia.
Kúdel’s engagement in the red and white jersey was also shaken by the affair surrounding Glen Kamara and the Rangers match. Because of this, the stopper of Slavia lost the EURO and also the European cups.
“The whole thing dragged on terribly, I didn’t go to the EURO because of it, but I have already closed it all down inside me. This is not for one short answer… At that time, everyone was waiting for my mistake, and I don’t think it was a major one. The mental side was deciding whether I could stand the hype in my head. The fans, opponents, the media environment were waiting for me to make a mistake and it would hurt me, it’s logical,” the 35-year-old defender remembers the unpleasant period.
But now everything is behind him and he is enjoying life in Indonesia. He has only the best memories of Slavia and is definitely not upset about his departure.
Now he has also been nominated for the national team from Persia and can play against Portugal and Switzerland.