Libor Sionko (born 1 February 1977) is a Czech former professional footballer who played as a midfielder. At club level he started in his home town of Ostrava, playing for the youth teams of TJ Vítkovice and Baník Ostrava. Professionally, he played in his native country until 2004, featuring for clubs including Ostrava and Sparta Prague. He then went abroad, playing in Austria for Grazer AK and Austria Wien before heading to Scotland where he played for Rangers. He subsequently had a spell in Denmark with F.C. Copenhagen before returning to the Czech Republic to finish his career with Sparta, where he last played before retiring in 2012.
|Date of birth||1 February 1977|
|Place of birth||Ostrava, Czechoslovakia|
|Height||1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Right winger|
|1998–2000||Czech Republic U21||19||(7)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Internationally Sionko made his debut for the Czech Republic in 1999 and took part in three tournaments, in particular the 2000 Olympics, the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008. He played sporadically until 2010, finishing his career with 8 goals from 41 games.
In 1999, he signed with Sparta Prague. He played successfully for Sparta in the Czech First League and the UEFA Champions League, progressing from twice (1999–00 and 2003–04) from the Champions League group stage.
Sionko left Prague, due to contract problems, to join Austrian club Grazer AK in February 2004, helping to achieve the first ever Austrian championship for the Styrians. He also was in the team winning the Austrian Cup for the 4th time. After that remarkable success and change to Austria Vienna, he was a principal for a very successful challenge in the 2004–05 UEFA Cup, when the Viennese side reached the quarter-final. In 2005–06 the Czech player was an Austrian double winner a second time.
Rangers & CopenhagenEdit
He scored on his Scottish Premiership debut against Motherwell on 30 July 2006 in the Gers' 2–1 win. Frequent injury, however, meant that he was used intermittently by Paul Le Guen. He re-established himself in the team in December 2006 where he scored against Hibernian and Aberdeen, as Rangers' form improved after a poor start to the season.
On 27 July 2007, it was announced Rangers had agreed a deal for the transfer of Sionko to the Danish champions F.C. Copenhagen, and the next day he was presented in the club after signing a two-year deal.
On 4 August came Sionko's debut for the club, where he assisted in the single goal at the 1–0 victory away against AGF. His first goal for the club came in his second match, and his home debut at Parken Stadium, against Esbjerg fB notching a 5–2 victory. Afterwards he started the next six matches at the bench, but on 23 September he was back in the lineup in his first New Firm Derby against Brøndby IF. This match ended 1–0 for FCK, the goal assisted by Sionko. Afterwards he has scored twice in a cup match against FC Fredericia and once against Lyngby Boldklub – in both matches he was named man of match.
Sionko was rarely used in the first team in the autumn of 2009, and in January 2010 he was released from his contract and subsequently signed with Sparta Prague. The midfielder has signed with the Czech club a contract until June 2012, after being released by the Danish club.
He retired on 27 August 2012 after failing to find a new club after his Sparta Prague contract ran out.
Sionko has represented his country at Under 17, Under 18, Under 20 and Under 21 level as well as playing twice in an unofficial friendly tournament in May 1998. He earned his first full cap in a friendly against Poland on 24 April 1999 and has been capped 41 times by the Czech Republic national team, scoring 8 goals. He had been only a substitute for a long time, because his position of right winger was occupied by Karel Poborský.
Sionko played in all three games at the 2000 Olympics as the Czechs drew with the United States and Cameroon and lost to Kuwait, meaning they were eliminated at the group stage and finished bottom of their group.
2006 World CupEdit
He was called up to the Czech team for the 2006 World Cup due to Vladimír Šmicer being injured; however he only featured as a late substitute role in some games as the Czechs were knocked out in the group stage of the competition. Sionko's World Cup debut came against Ghana on 17 June 2006. Ghana won the game 2–0.
On 11 June, Sionko scored for the Czech Republic in their second game of Euro 2008, a 1–3 defeat to Portugal which sent the Portuguese through to the quarter-finals of the tournament. Sionko equalised in the 17th minute after Deco had opened the scoring in the 8th minute. However, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma added two further goals for their team in the second half to leave the Czechs to battle it out with Turkey in the final game of Group A.
- As of 1 March 2009
|1.||12 November 2003||Na Stínadlech, Teplice, Czech Republic||Canada||4–0||5–1||Friendly|
|2.||6 September 2006||Tehelné pole, Bratislava, Slovakia||Slovakia||0–1||0–3||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
|3.||6 September 2006||Tehelné pole, Bratislava, Slovakia||Slovakia||0–2||0–3||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
|4.||17 October 2007||Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany||Germany||0–1||0–3||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying|
|5.||30 May 2008||Letná, Prague, Czech Republic||Scotland||1–0||3–1||Friendly|
|6.||30 May 2008||Letná, Prague, Czech Republic||Scotland||3–1||3–1||Friendly|
|7.||11 June 2008||Stade de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland||Portugal||1–1||1–3||UEFA Euro 2008|
|8.||15 October 2008||Na Stínadlech, Teplice, Czech Republic||Slovenia||1–0||1–0||2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying|
- "Sionko completes Rangers switch". BBC Sport. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 8 July 2007.
- "Motherwell 1–2 Rangers". BBC Sport. 30 July 2006.
- "Rangers 3–0 Hibernian". BBC Sport. 9 December 2006.
- "Aberdeen 1–2 Rangers". BBC Sport. 23 December 2006.
- "Sionko on His Way". Rangers F.C. 27 July 2007.[permanent dead link]
- "København snap up Sionko". UEFA. 29 July 2007.
- "Sionko: – Mit andet hjem" (in Danish). F.C. Copenhagen. 29 September 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2007.