Jiří Hanke was the only Czech player who ever made it to Barcelona squad. Read the dramatic story of former Slavia player.Nicknamed “papoušek” (parrot) Jiří Hanke was born in 1924 near Kutná Hora. Through Rakovník and Olomouc he joined Slavia and swiftly became one of red-white fans’ favourites. Thanks to is stable performance the left winger made it into the Czechoslovak national team too making 5 caps in his career.
Hanke moved to Slavia in 1944 and during Prague Uprising at the end of the second world war he was one of the people who tried to defend old Slavia stadium on Prague Letná (which was later burned to the ground later by retreating German troops). Jiří Hanke remained in Slavia till 1950 when he escaped to Germany before expanding communist regime in Czechoslovakia.
Jiří Hanke in Slavia (top row, second from right)
In Germany, Hanke played for Hamburger SV and St. Pauli before moving to Columbia to play for CD Milionaros alongside Alfredo di Stefano and winning Columbian title.
Back in Europe Hanke set his foot in Racing Lens, but one year later, in 1952, he joined Ferdinand Daučík – then Barcelona manager – in Catalonia. He scored a goal in his debut against Girona and slowly became regular in Barcelona line-up. In his first season he scored 5 goals and helped Barca to win double. Hanke played overall 57 games for Barcelona till 1957.
After his end in Catalonia, Hanke moved to Switzerland playing for Biel and managing Red Star Saint-Ouen and Vevey-Sports. The only Czech who ever played for Barcelona died in 2006 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Hanke (left) with Ferdinand Daučík (centre) and Ladislav Kubala in Barcelona.