A LIVERPOOL legend looked unrecognizable as he appeared on TV for the Champions League draw.
Fascinating links have been pulled from the hat as the European Premier competition reaches its final round.
With Liverpool knocked out of the competition on Tuesday night, their fans may have thought there was no point in tuning in to the draw.
But had they done so, they would have seen a man who left their club in 2005 – and became a fixture in Reds folklore in that year’s infamous Champions League final.
The 49-year-old looks different now and any fans who missed his introduction might not even have recognized him.
The midfielder spent six years at Anfield and became a fan favorite with his knack for producing big moments.
The man in question is Vladimir Smicer, who sported a small beard and a neat comb over hairstyle as he appeared on television.
It was very different from the spiky hair and clean-shaven look that fans will have been used to during his playing days.
Smicer arrived on Merseyside in 1999 under the reign of Gerard Houllier and would make its impact felt over the years.
‘Vladi’ is best known for his 2005 Champions League goal as Liverpool staged one of European football’s most infamous comebacks against AC Milan.
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The Czech midfielder wasn’t even in Liverpool’s starting line-up that day but had to replace Harry Kewell in the first half.
The Reds were 1-0 down when Smicer took to the pitch and it would be 3-0 at half-time.
But then the miracle began and Smicer’s brilliant strike from distance was sandwiched between goals from Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso as Rafa Benitez’s side rose from their graves.
Smicer then scored Liverpool’s decisive final penalty – his final kick from the ball in a red shirt – before Jerzy Dudek saved Andriy Shevchenko’s free-kick to seal victory.
The game would cement his legacy, but Smicer also scored big goals over the years against Chelsea and Dortmund.
Only a serious injury suffered in 2003 would ruin his time at Liverpool.
The star would go on to play for Bordeaux and Slavia Prague before his retirement.