There are some players who roll in and then slink right back out of Anfield without anyone noticing. On the other end of the spectrum are the rare players who hit legend status: your Fowlers, your Stevies, your King Kennys.
And then there’s players like Martin Skrtel — the ones who land in that weird middle ground of cult classic. Skrtel was the giant, menacing calamity in our back line for so long that I sometimes still expect to see him sidling up next to van Dijk. His blood-soaked head bandages were so prolific that they became a meme. And when an opposing attacker breached Liverpool’s 18 yard box, the odds were about 70-30 that Skrtel would concede the penalty.
But you can’t say the man wasn’t entertaining. Plus we’ll always have that brace against Arsenal to think back on fondly. And to use in fights with your Gooner friends: “Haha, remember when Martin Skrtel scored twice against you guys back in 2014?”
The 35-year-old Slovakian now plays with the Turkish side Başakşehir, a team out of Istanbul who beat the odds and secured their first title this season over the likes of Besiktas and Galatasaray.
When asked if he had anything to say about his former team’s victory, Martin Skrtel did as Martin Skrtel does, replying, “I was very happy that Liverpool were crowned champions. I congratulated the coaches and players over the phone. It was more difficult for Basaksehir to win the league. Liverpool were announced as champions [seven] weeks ago, whereas we claimed the title in the final weeks. It was a well-deserved success in the end. We were the most consistent team in the league.”
Gotta appreciate the game, and the way that Skrtel skillfully, if unsubtly, pivots from congratulating Liverpool to bragging about himself in exactly one sentence. Shine on, you magnificent man.