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Destiny still calling for driven Nedvěd

Published: Wednesday 10 December 2008, 4.46CET
Juventus go into their final Group H game against FC BATE Borisov needing just a point to win the section, but veteran midfielder Pavel Nedvěd will not be letting up as he aims to take the Italian side as far as possible.
by Richard Aikman
from Turin
Destiny still calling for driven Nedvěd
Pavel Nedvěd is looking to guide Juventus to the final again ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

JuventusBATE

Goals scored9
 
3
Attempts on target39
 
13
Attempts off target41
 
33
Corners40
 
30
Offsides15
 
14
Fouls committed148
 
117
Yellow cards19
 
14
Red cards1
 
1
 
Published: Wednesday 10 December 2008, 4.46CET

Destiny still calling for driven Nedvěd

Juventus go into their final Group H game against FC BATE Borisov needing just a point to win the section, but veteran midfielder Pavel Nedvěd will not be letting up as he aims to take the Italian side as far as possible.

Having missed a UEFA Champions League final through suspension, Pavel Nedvěd once said he is "desperate" for a second shot at glory. However, as his already-qualified Juventus side prepare for their last Group H match against FC BATE Borisov, the midfielder insists his absence from the 2003 showpiece hardly registers any more. "I only look forward," he said.

'No regrets'
Nedvěd had produced a man of the match display in the semi-final second leg against Real Madrid CF six seasons ago, but picked up a late booking which cost him his place on the grandest stage in European club football. Juventus would lose that final against AC Milan at Old Trafford, yet the veteran of 116 European games remains sanguine about the setback. "I have no regrets," he said. "I believe in fate. It was my destiny so I didn't play.

'Looking forward'
"I was just happy Juve got to the final," continued the former Czech international, now in his eighth campaign with the Italian giants. "It's a team game. Sometimes individuals play and sometimes not. I'm happy with what I have achieved and I hope I can accomplish even more. I've never replayed that match in my mind. It's impossible to turn back time. My son might have replayed it once or twice on the PlayStation but I only ever look forward. One day when I retire I might look back, but not before."

Popular figure
Nedvěd's positive approach is doubtless one of the reasons he is still performing against the best Europe has to offer at the age of 36. Adored by the Bianconeri faithful for his boundless energy and never-say-die attitude, his decision to remain at the club upon their demotion to Serie B two years ago cemented his popularity among the fans. His loyalty and consistency have now been rewarded by another UEFA Champions League run – which so far includes back-to-back wins over Madrid – with Juve guaranteed to top their section if they gain a point against BATE in Turin.

'Extra belief'
"The wins against Real Madrid strengthened our belief in how good we are," he added. "We were always confident in our ability but those wins gave us that extra belief that will stand us in good stead in the future. We have more inner strength now and that can only be good for the side." Nedvěd recognises how important it is for a team with designs on reaching the final to keep that confidence and momentum going, which is why he is treating this last group match as seriously as any other. "Only time will tell whether destiny takes us as far as the final, but as this is the Champions League we have to give every game our undivided attention, otherwise we risk slipping up. So against BATE we can't afford any mistakes."

Last updated: 10/12/08 21.11CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2009/matches/round=15276/match=302775/prematch/focus/index.html#destiny+still+calling+driven+nedved

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