Lubo Moravcik admits he regrets not staying at Celtic and experiencing Seville
Celtic icon Lubomir Moravcik has admitted that he should’ve stayed at Parkhead for another year and experienced the road to Seville.
Moravcik is well regarded by Celtic supporters for the unique flair he brought to the team after his arrival back in 1998. However, his 4-year tenure at the club ended in 2002 when he decided to make the move to Japan.
Moravcik has stated that the decision was purely a financial one and that he also didn’t see himself playing as many games in the 2002/03 campaign under Martin O’Neill.
But as he reflects on his decision to join JEF United, Lubo can’t help but feel plenty of regret considering the UEFA Cup final run the year after.
As quoted by the Glasgow Times, Moravcik said: “I told him I was ready to move because I was 35 and I wasn’t young anymore. He said if I wanted to stay he would give me an opportunity to play some games. The first game I played in Luxembourg I scored two goals and he knew then that he could use my quality for the team for the season.
“At the end of the season we were happy and I signed for another season. But I think I made a mistake because at the start of the season I said it was my last for Celtic. I made a mistake. I should have stayed for one more year because Celtic could have won a European trophy – with me!
“Sometimes I made too quick a decision. I felt maybe my role in the team would be less and less and I was very proud. People must have been thinking: ‘the stupid guy should sign another deal.’ In Japan, I had a very good contract for six months. Better than at Celtic. The money was more important than my desire but it was very hard in Japan at the age of 37. I was two months working hard out there and it was a bad decision because it was not easy to cope with the younger players running around me.”
Lubo Moravcik regrets 2002 Celtic departure
Many will argue that Lubo was perhaps underused in his final season at the club. But given Celtic’s success in the 2001/02 season in which the Scottish Premier League was secured once more, it’s difficult to argue too much.
Whether Lubo actually would’ve played a key role in our Road to Seville is also debatable. After all, given his struggles in Japan, it could’ve also been the same had he stayed.
Clearly he felt at the time he was ready to try something different after a highly-successful 4 years in Glasgow. It’s easy to forget what age Lubo was at that period of his career.
But it’s not overly surprising that he regrets not being able to experience that run. Even if he would only have been a squad player, it would’ve been incredible to have been a part of.
Not that it would’ve bolstered his stock any higher amongst the support in any case. Lubo is already thought of as a Celtic great and that won’t ever change. Something that highlights just how special a player he was for us.
Would we have won the UEFA Cup had Lubo remained? Unlikely. Goodness knows we had the flair in the final third to go all the way that year. Unfortunately to this day, it’s individual errors at the back that still haunt us when we think back to Porto.
In other news, Celtic are just one more derby win from rival supporters absolutely imploding