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Poborský punished by Sparta

AC Sparta Praha have stripped Czech international Karel Poborský of the club captaincy and dropped him from the first-team squad.

Public criticism
The 33-year-old midfielder publicly criticised the coach after Wednesday's Czech Cup win at fourth division Litvínov, when he himself renounced the armband saying: "The captain should be an extended hand of the coach, but I do not share some of his methods." Those comments appear to have come against a backdrop of strained relations between the two men. Hrebík had left Poborský on the bench for the victory against FC Vysocina Jihlava on 10 September and then substituted him early in Saturday's disappointing defeat at 1. FC Slovácko.

The coach claimed his playmaker needed a rest, but Poborský told reporters he was "confused" by his situation. That position became clear today when Sparta ordered Poborský, the Czech Republic's most-capped player, to train alone and confirmed he was no longer skipper. Club vice-president Daniel Křetínský stated: "We respect Karel as an extraordinary footballer, but his public remarks about the coach are an act that no club can excuse." Poborský now seems certain to miss Sparta's UEFA Champions League match away to Switzerland's FC Thun on Tuesday.