Włodzimierz Smolarek

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Born in Aleksandrów Łódzki, Smolarek played for Widzew Łódź and Legia Warsaw in Poland. He won the Ekstraklasa championship with the former side in 1981 and 1982, as well as the 1985 Polish Cup.

In 1986, aged 29, Smolarek was allowed to leavePoland. He started with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga where he won the German Cup in his second season, playing the full 90 minutes in the 1–0 win against VfL Bochum. He retired at 39 after eight years in the Netherlands, with Feyenoord and FC Utrecht, then went on to work with the first club as youth coach for nearly one decade.

International Career[change | change source]

Smolarek made his debut for the Poland national team on 12 October 1980, in a 1–2 friendly loss in Argentina. Over the next 12 years he appeared in a further 59 internationals, being selected for the squads at two FIFA World Cups: in 1982 he helped the country finish third in Spain, scoring the opener in a 5–1 first group stage win against Peru. Four years later, celebrating his 50th appearance, he netted the only goal in the group phase contest against Portugal (his 12th and penultimate) in an eventual round-of-16 exit.

In October 2009, Smolarek was hired by the Polish Football Association to oversee the national side's youth program.

Death[change | change source]

Smolarek died in 2012 at age 54.