Former Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel now plays as a No 10 and is banging in goals for fun
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Former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has revealed he is now playing as an attacker in his native Slovakia – and claims his role is similar to that of Lionel Messi.
Skrtel, 38, is well known to Premier League fans having spent eight years at Liverpool during the prime years of his career.
After joining the Reds from Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2008, he would go on to make 320 appearances for the Merseyside club before leaving for Fenerbahce in 2016.
Skrtel is now back in Slovakia where he is playing for FK Hajskala Raztocno - an amateur side in the eighth tier, where he has been given an unexpected role.
"I actually play as the No 10," Skrtel told The Athletic.
"When I went along for the first game, I said I'd go in my normal position at centre-back but after 10 minutes, I said to the coach, 'Listen, how about I play as the No 6?'. After another 10 minutes, I said, 'How about I play further up?'.
"I played a few games as a striker and got a few goals. Now I've dropped a bit little deeper. I basically get to run where I want. A free role — a bit like Lionel Messi!"
Known for his no-nonsense approach to defending and his aggressive style of play, Skrtel might not seem like a natural choice for an attacking player.
But the former Slovakia international insists he is thriving in his new role, with a video (which can you watch below) surfacing of the former Liverpool defender scoring a beautiful free-kick – in similar style to Messi.
"I bet you couldn’t believe it was me, am I right?" he added. "But it was me, I promise you.
"If I sent you the video of the one I took before that one, I tried to smash it and it went about 20 metres over the goal. Thankfully, the next one was better."
Skrtel: I can't even train anymore
Explaining his decision to return to football on Slovakia, Skrtel said he was fulfilling a promise.
"I told my friends, 'One day when I'm retired, I'll come back home and play with you guys'," he added.
"It's the team in the village where I was born. My parents still live there and I have many friends there. I do it for them. When I first said I was going to play, everyone was thinking it would just be for one game. We had more than 3,000 people there. Now, it's usually about 500 to 600.
"I can't train, because of my back. I just go along each Sunday and play the game. For two or three days after, I can't do any kind of outdoor activity because I'm so f****d.
"I've got nine or 10 goals this season. We're second in the table, but I can't say we want promotion. We've got quite an old team. Our goalkeeper, I think, is 56, and we have a few other players in their mid-40s. The most important thing is to have fun. We don't push it.
"It's a different kind of experience for me. I want to enjoy still being able to play a bit for as long as possible. It's not easy to just say, 'Right, I'm finished. I won't kick a ball anymore'. As long as I enjoy it, I'll keep going."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Liverpool, Football, Premier League