Škrtel with Fenerbahçe in 2019
|Full name||Martin Škrtel|
|Date of birth||15 December 1984|
|Place of birth||Handlová, Czechoslovakia|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|2004–2008||Zenit St. Petersburg||74||(3)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:44, 13 January 2021 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21:59, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Martin Škrtel (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈmartin ˈʃkr̩cɛl]; born 15 December 1984) is a Slovak professional footballer who plays as a centre back and is currently a free agent. He is a former player and captain of the Slovakia national team.
He previously played for Trenčín and Zenit Saint Petersburg, before joining Liverpool for £6.5 million in January 2008. After eight-and-a-half years with Liverpool, where he played 319 official games and scored 18 goals, he joined Fenerbahçe. He has won the Russian Premier League and the League Cup, as well as being named Slovak Footballer of the Year four times.
Škrtel made his international debut for Slovakia in 2004 and has earned a total of 104 caps, making him the third most capped player of his country at the time of his retirement in 2019, behind Marek Hamšík and Miroslav Karhan. He also retired as Slovakia's 10th best international scorer with 6 goals, sharing the spot with Július Šimon and Miroslav Stoch. He represented the country as they reached the last 16 at both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016.
Zenit Saint Petersburg
Škrtel made his debut for Zenit Saint Petersburg in a Russian Cup match on 31 July 2004. He said that the presence of Slovak and Czech players helped him to adjust to his new team. He played 113 times and scored 5 goals for the club, winning the Russian Premier League title in the 2007 season. Valencia, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Newcastle United were all reported to be interested in his services, but he ended up signing for Liverpool in the January 2008 transfer window.
"He is aggressive, quick, is good in the air and I think he's a very good player for the future and also for the present. He is very competitive, but his mentality for me is very good".
On 26 January 2008, Škrtel played in Liverpool's FA Cup fourth round tie against non-league side Havant & Waterlooville, when he gave away a corner which put Liverpool 1–0 behind, and was also involved in a goal mouth scramble which saw Liverpool go 2–1 down after having equalised, before Liverpool eventually won 5–2. But he put in a solid display in the league game against Chelsea, making several good clearances and interceptions, and was voted man of the match by the Liverpool supporters on their official website. Škrtel was again voted man of the match for his performance in the 1–0 derby win over Everton at Anfield on 30 March 2008, his first ever appearance in a Merseyside derby.
Škrtel made a bright start to the 2008–09 season, starting in all but one Premier League match and displacing out of favour Daniel Agger to the bench. He put in a number of strong performances with defensive partner Jamie Carragher against many top teams, notably Manchester United, Everton and Marseille in the Champions League. On 5 October 2008, Škrtel suffered a serious knee injury after falling awkwardly when challenging Ched Evans late in a game against Manchester City which Liverpool went on to win 3–2. It was later confirmed the central defender had torn the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee but did not require surgery and was "expected to be back before Christmas".
On 28 December 2008, Škrtel returned from injury as a late substitute in Liverpool's 5–1 away win at Newcastle. He was a regular starter for Liverpool during the second half of the season, as the team finished second in the Premier League with 86 points.
On 21 November 2009, Škrtel scored his first goal for Liverpool in a 2–2 draw with Manchester City. On 26 February 2010, it was confirmed that he had broken his metatarsal in his right foot while playing in the 3–1 UEFA Europa League victory over Unirea Urziceni the previous day. On 18 August 2010, Škrtel signed a two-year contract extension with Liverpool, committing his future to the club until 2014.
During the 2010–11 season, Škrtel played every minute of every Premier League match. On 28 November, in a match against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, Škrtel scored both his second career goal for the club and his first Premier League own goal as Liverpool lost 2–1. On his 26th birthday, he captained Liverpool in the Europa League against Utrecht. On 2 April 2011, he scored a header against West Bromwich Albion, and played the full 90 minutes in a 2–1 defeat at The Hawthorns.
In May 2011, Škrtel stated that he felt the 2010–11 season had been his best for the club to date.
On 27 August 2011, Škrtel scored a headed goal for Liverpool against Bolton Wanderers in his first league appearance of the season from an unfamiliar right-back position. On 18 September, he was sent off in a 4–0 away defeat against Tottenham.
On 18 December, Škrtel scored Liverpool's second goal in a league match away at Aston Villa in a 2–0 win. His first goal of 2012 came in a FA Cup fifth round tie against Brighton & Hove Albion, opening the scoring within five minutes of kick-off with header from a corner kick.
On 26 February 2012, Škrtel scored against Cardiff City in the 2012 Football League Cup Final. Liverpool won 3–2 on penalties after the match had ended in a 2–2 draw, giving Škrtel his first trophy as a Liverpool player.
At the midway point of the season, Liverpool had the best defensive record in the Premier League. Liverpool left back José Enrique described Škrtel and Daniel Agger as "the best defensive partnership in the Premier League". The Slovak's increasing standard of performances led to him becoming a fan favourite at Anfield, and earned him the nickname "The Terminator".
On 10 April 2012, Škrtel captained Liverpool for the first time in the league, leading his club to a 3–2 win over Blackburn Rovers and playing a major part in the first goal with a long pass to Craig Bellamy, who subsequently squared for Maxi Rodríguez to make the score 1–0. On 5 May, he started for Liverpool in the 2–1 2012 FA Cup Final defeat to Chelsea.
After Kenny Dalglish parted company with Liverpool he was replaced by Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers. On 20 August 2012, Škrtel announced that he would commit his future to Liverpool by signing a new contract.
Škrtel's season got off to a bad start, giving away a penalty in a 3–0 loss to West Brom on 18 August 2012. A week later, he scored the club's first goal of the season in a 2–2 draw against Manchester City. Later in the match, his poorly executed backpass to Pepe Reina was intercepted by Carlos Tevez to equalise for Manchester City.
In January 2013, Škrtel was dropped from the Liverpool team after a poor performance in an FA Cup defeat to Oldham Athletic. After starting only four Premier League matches in the second half of the season, Škrtel called 2012–13 "one of the worst seasons in my career and certainly the worst during my time at Liverpool".
After missing the first two matches of the season, Škrtel helped Liverpool keep a clean sheet in 1–0 home win against Manchester United on 1 September. On 9 November, he scored his first goal of the season in a 4–0 win against Fulham. On 29 December, he gave Liverpool a third-minute lead against Chelsea in a 2–1 loss at Stamford Bridge.
On 8 February 2014, Škrtel scored twice in the first ten minutes against Arsenal, to help Liverpool to a 5–1 win. On 22 March, he scored another brace in a 6–3 win over Cardiff City. On 13 April, he scored Liverpool's second goal in a crucial 3–2 win over Manchester City at Anfield to reach seven goals in the 2013–14 Premier League season.
On 11 May, he scored a record fourth own-goal of the Premier League season in a 2–1 win against Newcastle United. Despite those four own goals, Škrtel scored some decisive goals for Liverpool in some matches. Since his return against Manchester United in the third game of the season, he played every minute for Liverpool in the Premier League.
On 4 November Škrtel captained Liverpool in a Champions League match against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium as captain Steven Gerrard and his vice-captain Jordan Henderson were both on the bench; Liverpool lost 0–1. After a poor beginning to the season, manager Brendan Rodgers switched to a three-man defensive line in October, with Škrtel playing a crucial part. His pace, athleticism and ball-playing abilities were key in this formation.
On 21 December, in a league game at Anfield against Arsenal, Škrtel received a head wound from an accidental collision with Olivier Giroud; the treatment added nine minutes onto the end of the match, in which Škrtel headed a 97th-minute equaliser for a vital 2–2 draw. In a League Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea on 27 January 2015, Škrtel was stamped on by Chelsea forward Diego Costa. Referee Michael Oliver did not penalise the incident, but Costa was retrospectively banned for three matches by The Football Association (FA).
On 8 March 2015 in a sixth round FA Cup match against Blackburn Rovers, Škrtel was substituted and then taken to hospital after a collision with Rudy Gestede. Later that month, Škrtel was given a three-match ban for violent conduct by the FA for a stamp on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. He unsuccessfully appealed, claiming it to be unintentional.
On 10 July 2015, Škrtel signed a new contract with Liverpool. On 23 September 2015, he played his 300th match for Liverpool in a League Cup penalty shootout win over Carlisle United. Škrtel scored his first goal of the season on 21 November 2015, scoring the fourth goal in a 4–1 win away at Manchester City with a thunderous volley from the edge of the box off of a corner. The goal came exactly six years after Škrtel had scored his first goal for Liverpool against the same opponents. On 6 December 2015, Škrtel joined his former defence partner Jamie Carragher in second position on the All Time Premier League Own Goals list by scoring his seventh in a match against Newcastle. On 20 December, Škrtel suffered a tear in his hamstring and tendon which kept him on the sideline for six weeks.
In his first season with Fenerbahçe, Škrtel played 31 games in the league, scoring 2 goals. At the end of the season, it was rumoured that Škrtel might return to English football and Stoke City, Swansea, as well as Newcastle United, who were returning to Premier League and were at the time coached by Rafael Benítez, who signed Škrtel from Zenit in 2008, were all mentioned as clubs hoping to sign Škrtel, although his manager Karol Csontó dismissed the transfer rumours saying that "Even if it was Chelsea, he (Škrtel) will certainly not return to England", adding that Škrtel was happy with his stay at Fenerbahçe.
During autumn 2018 and spring of 2019, Škrtel was linked to transfers to Barcelona, that he allegedly turned down on the basis of his potential position in the squad, as well as a lucrative offer of Al-Ahli Jeddah. Instead it was stated that he may join his national team team mate Juraj Kucka, prior to Škrtel's international retirement in February 2019, in Parma.
On 9 August 2019, Škrtel joined Serie A side Atalanta. His contract was terminated three weeks later by mutual consent. He was not able to adapt with new environment, conditions and training methods. In an interview a week later, Škrtel said that a player like him just did not fit the Atalanta system. On 17 September 2019, Atalanta president Antonio Percassi stated in an interview that Škrtel's wife, Barbora, could be one of the reasons of his departure. Percassi said that she did not really want to move to Bergamo.
On 2 September 2019, he returned to Turkey signing with İstanbul Başakşehir. He made 20 appearances and scored three goals in the 2019–20 Süper Lig winning campaign, which was the first top flight title in the club's history.
Škrtel played international football for Slovakia youth teams, before making his debut in the senior squad in 2004. He was selected in Slovakia's squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the country's first as an independent nation. He played a crucial part in the side's 3–2 win over reigning champions Italy as he played in every match of their World Cup campaign, which saw Slovakia reach the round-of-16, where they lost to the eventual runners-up, the Netherlands. Škrtel captained Slovakia through UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying which saw the Slovaks defeat defending champions Spain en route to qualifying for the final tournament in France, where they achieved the Round of 16, beating Russia and tying with England.
Škrtel is the third most frequently capped player in the history of Slovakia and on 13 October 2018 he collected his 100th cap in the national team, becoming the third player in Slovak history to do so, in a derby match against Czech Republic in Trnava, in the same match, when Marek Hamšík became the most capped player in Slovakian history.
On 22 February 2019, Škrtel announced his retirement from international football at the age of 34, along with another national team defender Tomáš Hubočan and forward Adam Nemec. The trio shared a farewell game on 13 October 2019 in a friendly against Paraguay, which coincided with a national team return to Tehelné pole, after 10 years. Škrtel played in the starting XI as a captain and was substituted by Denis Vavro after some 30 minutes. Vavro is known for naming Škrtel as one of his footballing idols. Slovakia tied the game 1–1.
- As of 13 January 2021
|Zenit Saint Petersburg||2004||7||0||2||0||–||–||5||0||14||0|
- Scores and results list Slovakia's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Škrtel goal.
|1.||2 September 2006||Tehelné Pole, Bratislava||Cyprus||UEFA Euro 2008 qualification|
|2.||7 February 2007||Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz||Poland||Friendly|
|3.||24 March 2007||GSP Stadium, Nicosia||Cyprus||UEFA Euro 2008 qualification|
|4.||13 October 2007||Mestský štadión, Dubnica||San Marino||UEFA Euro 2008 qualification|
|5.||6 September 2008||Tehelné Pole, Bratislava||Northern Ireland||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|6.||11 November 2016||Štadión Antona Malatinského, Trnava||Lithuania||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (May 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Zenit Saint Petersburg
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- Liverpool Player of the Year Award: 2012
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Начал заниматься футболом с 6 лет. Воспитанник ФК «Превизда». ... Выступал за юношескую и молодёжную сборные Словакии. ... Карьера игрока. 2001–2004 : ФК «Тренчин», Словакия (45 матчей).
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