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Czech soccer legend Antonin Panenka, 71, hospitalized with COVID-19

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Oct. 7 (UPI) — Czech soccer legend Antonin Panenka has been hospitalized and placed in intensive care after contracting the coronavirus, his former club Bohemians 1905 announced Wednesday.

The club said the 71-year-old Panenka — best known for his trick penalty kick — is in “serious condition” due to COVID-19.

“Antonin Panenka was taken to an intensive care unit today in a serious condition,” Bohemians 1905 wrote on Twitter. “We will not comment more on his state. Tonda, let’s go!”

Panenka scored a unique penalty kick against Germany in the 1976 European Championship to win the tournament for his side. Since that victory, the “Panenka-style” kick has been mimicked by some of the sport’s greatest players.

The shot — commonly referred to as a Panenka — is a technique in which the player gently chips the ball down the middle of the goal in an attempt to deceive the diving goalkeeper.

Sergio Ramos, Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo and many others have copied Panenka’s move. Barcelona star Lionel Messi famously scored his 700th career goal with a Panenka penalty.

Panenka made 230 appearances for Bohemians and scored 76 career goals with the club. The attacking midfielder also played for Rapid Wien in the early 1980s, recording 63 goals in 127 appearances.

Internationally, Panenka played 59 times for his native Czechoslovakia and had 17 goals. Following his playing career, he has worked as club chairman at Bohemians 1905.

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