A FORMER footballer who turned down a move to Juventus and was banned by his country is now set to make his debut in MMA.
Martin Fenin, 35, was one of Europe’s top prospects when he burst onto the scene in 2007.
The striker almost led Czech Republic’s U20s to World Cup glory in 2007 before losing to Sergio Aguero’s Argentina.
And Fenin also made a name for himself at club level after shining alongside Edin Dzeko at FK Teplice.
The ace’s performances earned him a then-club record £3million move to Eintracht Frankfurt in 2008.
Fenin says he could have signed for Juventus instead, but opted against a move due to the presence of legendary strikers David Trezegeut and Alessandro del Piero.
Fenin told the Daily Star: “The World Cup was life-changing for all of us in the team.
“I had already played in the league for quite some time, but even so, we left there as a team from which no one expected anything, but we returned as stars.
“After returning to the Czech Republic, the situation was very difficult, there were a lot of offers and interest from journalists, and it was difficult to decide where to go.
“I had only two offers on the table – Juventus and Frankfurt.
“I myself decided for Eintracht for the reason that I was becoming the most expensive signing in the club’s history and I had at least the basic certainty and hope that I would get space to play.
“That would certainly not have been the case at Juventus, where David Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero were in the team.”
During his three-year stint in Germany, Fenin was one of several stars to be suspended indefinitely by the Czech FA for an alleged breach of discipline.
Fenin, whose ban was lifted after a year, said: “Back then we were fired for practically nothing, it was a made-up story.
“At the time it was not pleasant for us when they (the press) suggested to us that we were supposed to be with prostitutes, they were standard friends, normal girls.”
Fenin is now looking to make his mark in the world of MMA with Oktagon, with his debut coming later this year.
He added: “When I got home I told my wife and she said I’d be crazy not to try it and that she wanted to see if I still had the heart of an athlete.
“She was the main reason I finally said yes to the challenge and I’m so glad she did!
“Training is much harder and more demanding than in football and I’m getting used to it. There is a completely different coordination of the body.
“But I’m starting to enjoy it, I’m curious to see how I’ll do when I step into the cage.”
Last year, Fenin talked to Fifpro about his previous issues with alcohol, saying: “I always fled into alcohol when I encountered problems. That was my solution.
“Drinking alcohol was my real problem. Everything was connected with the alcohol. Now that the alcohol is gone, my problems are also gone.
“I don’t have any desire to drink anymore and I notice that life is better now.
“In our country, everybody drinks. But when I’m somewhere and I tell people that I ruined my career drinking alcohol, then I feel much stronger and people react positively.”