Tomas Rosicky retires: Former Arsenal, Dortmund star's memorable moments
Tomas Rosicky announced his retirement on Wednesday, calling time on a 19-year playing career that began and ended at his hometown club, Sparta Prague.
In between those spells the 37-year-old, named Czech footballer of the year three times, spent five years at Borussia Dortmund before moving to Arsenal in 2006 where he played for 10 years at the Premier League side.
ESPN FC's correspondents look back at some of his most memorable moments for Dortmund and Arsenal.
🔛 246 appearances— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 20, 2017
⚽ 28 goals
🏆 2 FA Cups
🔴 1 Arsenal icon
❤️ We love you, Tomas pic.twitter.com/PB7yVQKYVe
Title-winning chip (May 4, 2002)
Luck and decisions going their way had helped Borussia Dortmund get to the top of the Bundesliga ahead of the final day of the 2001-02 season, despite a five-point deficit to Bayer Leverkusen with just three games of the campaign remaining. Now, against Werder Bremen, Dortmund needed a win to secure their first title since 1996, but with just 15 minutes left on the clock, the game was tied at 1-1 and Leverkusen had one hand on the trophy.
BVB had just stopped a counter-attack, and started another down their left side. Lurking close to the sideline, Rosicky saw Leonardo Dede storming toward the box and, with an irresistible move, chipped the ball high into the area for Dede to acrobatically hit it across goal. It was too high for towering striker Jan Koller, but timed perfectly for Ewerthon at the far post, who hit the inside of the near post before the ball bounced across the line only to eventually cross it. That goal sealed Dortmund's first Bundesliga title of the century. -- Stephan Uersfeld
Celebrating in style (March 25, 2006)
Hamburg had closed in on leaders Bayern Munich when taking a 2-1 win back home from the Allianz Arena and, going into matchday 27, they trailed by six points. When leading mid-table Dortmund 2-1 after 67 minutes, that gap was set to be halved as Bayern were losing to Duisburg. But as the stadium announcer shouted out goal scorer Ailton's name, two things happened: Dortmund's Florian Kringe hammered a shot into the back of Hamburg's net, and Bayern Munich pulled level through Hasan Salihamidzic.
Minutes later, both Dortmund (through Rosicky) and Bayern scored again. Hamburg were now trailing Munich by nine points and, with minutes remaining, sent goalkeeper Sacha Kirschstein up to try and grab an equaliser.
But when Sergej Barbarez swung the ball into Dortmund's box following a short corner, it was cleared by defender Dede; Ebi Smolarek picked it up, and found Rosicky breaking away towards the open goal, starting from behind the halfway line.
After his first touch, Rosicky -- still some 40 metres away from the empty net -- began to celebrate, and did not stop as he ran towards the open goal with a Hamburg defender chasing him down, knowing he wouldn't get to him. Dortmund's No. 10 looked around, celebrated, touched the ball, and slotted it into the net. He was all smiles, and dived to the ground as he waited for his teammates to join the celebrations.
Hamburg finished third that year, and Dortmund seventh. Rosicky left for Arsenal but his iconic celebration very much remains part of both club's history to this date.
Cup double in front of the Kop (Jan. 7, 2007)
Rosicky endeared himself to the Arsenal fans with a fine display at Anfield in his first FA Cup game, netting a first-half double in the 3-1 win over Liverpool. The first goal was a sublime curling strike from the edge of the area after a cross from Alexandr Hleb. The second was even better, as he collected a pass from Thierry Henry and drove through a crowd of five Liverpool defenders before slotting a low shot inside the far post.
Arsenal only made it as far as the fifth round that season, but Rosicky would go on to lift the trophy twice toward the end of his 10 years at the club. -- Mattias Karen
Derby heroics (March 16, 2014)
Goals against Tottenham Hotspur can easily define an Arsenal career, and Rosicky's strike at White Hart Lane was among the most memorable North London derby moments of recent years.
Less than two minutes into the game, Rosicky burst forward and traded passes with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before hammering home a fierce strike from a difficult angle. It was enough for a 1-0 win that kept Arsenal firmly in the Premier League title race -- for the moment -- and enough to make him a fan favourite forever.
Wondergoal vs. Sunderland (Feb. 22, 2014)
When it comes to beautiful Arsenal team goals, few are better than the wonderful move that Rosicky started and finished against Sunderland. Collecting the ball well outside the area, the midfielder exchanged quick passes with Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud to burst into the box, before calmly chipping the goalkeeper.
It was "Wengerball" at its finest, rivalling Wilshere's own masterpiece against Norwich earlier that season. It was one of only 19 Premier League goals for Rosicky, but he created many more and each came with a little of his signature panache.
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