Meetings between Juventus and Lazio in Serie A or cup competition are always moments to look forward to. There have been memorable moments between the two clubs throughout history, like their 1974 Coppa Italia Final clash.

When the two clubs come together and fans and enthusiasts start to put together their latest Juventus vs Lazio prediction, the fixture can’t help but bring to mind one of the great players of the modern Serie A game.

Midfielder Pavel Nedved was a two-club man during his Serie A career, starting at Lazio before making the move to Turin to join the Old Lady. The Czech international made a huge impact on both of them.

From Prague to Rome

Pavel Nedved made his Serie A appearance in the 1996-1997 season for Lazio. He had joined them from Sparta Prague in his home country. Nedved immediately became a staple in the Lazio set-up and never for a moment looked like a move abroad would derail his career.

Having already won domestic league titles back home, Nedved would not have to wait long until his first honour in Italy would come along. In just his second season with Napoli Nedved reached the UEFA Cup Final and claimed the 1997/98 Coppa Italia.

The 1999-2000 season was a big breakthrough campaign for the midfielder. He was pivotal at the heart of the team, as Lazio claimed just their second Serie A title, and put further silverware on the board with another Coppa Italia crown.

Nedved, famed for his flowing golden hair, made 208 appearances for Lazio, scoring 51 times across all competitions. Despite being on a high with Lazio at that point in his career, his relationship with Lazio would end abruptly.

From New Contract to Turin

In April 2001 Nedved put pen to paper on a new four-year contract to keep him at Lazio. He was happy, fans were happy. But a couple of months later the club was actively looking to sell him for financial reasons, and Nedved became heavily linked with English Premier League clubs Manchester and Chelsea.

But things aligned for a move to Juventus instead. Juve had sold off the great Zinedine Zidane to Real Madrid in the summer of 2001 and needed a qualified midfielder replacement. That was to be Nedved who has some massive boots to fill on his move to  Turin.

Heartbeat of Juventus

Asking any player to replace Zidane at that time would put untold pressure upon them. But Nedved more than justified Juve’s faith and trust in him. By today’s standards, the fee of €38.7 million that they paid for him was a snap.

Nedved was instrumental in the success that would follow for Juventus. He helped the club win back-to-back Scudetto honours in 2002 and 2003.

Just to underline the influence that Nedved had at Juventus in those early days, among the many individual honours he won in 2003, Nedved was UEFA’s Midfielder of the Year, the World Soccer Awards Player of the Year, and the biggest of all – the 2003 Ballon d’Or winner.

The Missed Champions League Chance

The one thing missing from Nedved’s list of achievements with Juventus was a Champions League title. How different the story could have been for the player and the club had suspensions not kept him out of the 2002-03 Final.

Juventus were on top of their game at the time and were favourites for their Champions League Final showdown at Old Trafford in England where they faced Serie A rivals AC Milan. After an epic 4-3 aggregate semi-final win over Real Madrid, Juventus looked in good shape for the title.

But they were held at bay by Milan, the match playing out to a 0-0 draw. What influence would the game-changer Nedved have had if he had been on the pitch? His absence was huge as Juventus struggled from the penalty spot in the shoot-out, losing 3-2.

Golden Foot Nedved

There are so many fond memories of Golden Foot winner Nedved wearing the famous black and white stripes. He cemented himself as a club legend, a likeable player of dedication and excellence. In total, he spent eight seasons with Juventus, even sticking with them following their relegation to the 2006/07 Serie B campaign.

He made 91 appearances for his country, finishing with a runners-up medal from Euro ‘96. Nedved was pretty much as complete a player as Juventus could have hoped for. Stamina, creativity, goals, work-rate, dribbling, passing. Arguably Nedved didn’t just replace Zidane, “Furia Ceca” forged his own place in Juventus folklore as one of the greatest individuals to play for them.