Tomáš Záborský has been working in the north of Europe since 2014. Even now, his priority was to stay in Finland. In the historical tables, he is missing twenty goals in Liiga to become the best scorer among foreigners (he scored 170 goals). However, there was no adequate offer from the country.
He also dealt with Slovak possibilities for a while, but at the age of 33 he is still a priority abroad. In the end, he agreed with the finalist of the last Czech extra-league season from Liberec.
The Finnish Liiga will be qualitatively saved, on the contrary, the Czech Republic is going up, says TOMÁŠ ZÁBORSKÝ
Why did you choose Liberec? Was the Czech club the longest interested in your services?
“The agent reminded me that he called Liberec, already after the world championships. We addressed Finland as a priority, but we were looking for teams to fight for the title during the summer. I haven’t played the playoffs in the last two years and we have won few matches.
Before, I had a whole career lucky at strong clubs, whether in Russia or Sweden. We played for the title. That’s why I waited longer. I look forward to a new challenge. As a finalist last year, Liberec has only the highest ambitions. ”
Do you expect that the pressure will be great, as you go to one of the richest teams in the Czech extra league?
“I don’t feel any pressure anywhere. I am a legionnaire everywhere and results are expected of me. I’ve been playing in top clubs since the beginning of my career and I’m used to pressure. It doesn’t bother me at all, quite the opposite. The team will focus on success. ”
At the age of thirty-three, it’s time for the title, what will you say?
“I try to be patient and not think about it. I believe that when the chance comes, we will seize it. I still have enough years until the end of my career. I feel very well physically. I hope there will be opportunities. ”
In the past, several Slovak hockey players worked in Liberec. Even now you will have a team of compatriots. Did you find out more about them from the club?
“I talked to Milan Bartovič and Branko Radivojevič. I heard positive things about Liberec a long time ago, even when the boys were playing there. It will be something new for me also from the point of view that I have not yet worked in the Czech Republic. Only in the Champions League did I play against Kometa Brno and Třinec. ”
The skillful David Gríger also showed up in the Olympic qualification. Could he do you a good center on the team, what will you say?
“We will see what the coaches intend. I’ll find out next week. I’ve already watched the lineup. There is a lot of quality in defense and attack. It doesn’t matter who I play with. Klepiš, Filippi, Birner or Gríger are all a guarantee of top performance. ”
In the last season, the defender Mislav Rosandič also made great progress. What do you say to his performances?
“He showed his dexterity at the World Cup. He did not make mistakes, he has an experienced pass. I like that he has his head up. I hope he throws my pucks at speed. ”
Not only you but also other top names leave the Finnish League. Do local clubs have financial problems?
“Yes, it’s not pink there. Already last year, all clubs ‘chopped’ money, arguing on covid. This year, they usually sign only eighteen – twenty – year – old boys, who play almost for free. Clubs are in a saving mode.
I’m afraid it will come back to them in two or three years and they will go down in quality. If I compare it only with the Czech extra league, where the top foreigners also play, as well as excellent Czech names led by David Krejčí, Tomáš Plekance, or still with Jaromír Jágr. The Czech Extraliga is only growing. ”
Jágrovo Kladno returns to the extra league. Are you glad you’re going to play against the legendary 60?
“I am very much looking forward to it. Next week I should start preparing just against Kladno. I believe that Jágr will come as well. ”
You have spent nine years in Finland with breaks and you are short of twenty goals for the historical shooting record among legionnaires. Are you still thinking about coming back?
“I do not put a rough line behind anything, nor behind Sweden or Russia. At the moment, however, I will focus on Liberec and the season in it. ”
We know that Košice, Michalovce, Slovan Bratislava, and your native Trenčín were interested in you. Try to reveal more how it was with Slovak clubs?
“Yes, I had offers from Slovan Bratislava and Michalovce, which I did not accept. Then I had serious offers from Košice and Trenčín. We were preliminarily agreed that if I had not found a foreign club, I would have stayed in Slovakia. I’m looking forward to ending my career at home, but for another year or two I would like to play outside. ”
Did they decide for Liberec in comparison with Slovak offers and finances?
“The offer was also solid from Slovakia, but I repeated to the managers that if my son does not go to school, I want to play abroad. Branko Radivojevič and Gabi Spilar were helpful and understanding what I thank them for. We will see what the future holds. ”
In addition to hockey, you are also a football or tennis fan. Have you pulled Cristiano Ronald’s jersey out of the closet after he returned to your favorite Manchester United?
“I have a United jersey in the dust after last week’s fiasco with Southampton. I hope Ronaldo picks it up. I’m just glad he confirmed what he said a few years ago that he would never play for Manchester City in his life. Although it has been speculated that he would not transfer from Juventus right there. I am glad that he is returning to the club where he started his great world career. ”
Have you already ordered his new jersey?
“Not yet. Maybe if he signed a longer contract. I would definitely rather buy tickets and go to the match. ”