Capable of playing all along the back line, as well as in a defensive midfield role, Radoslav Zabavnik’s versatility, not to mention his aggression and all-round professionalism, make the 29-year-old an invaluable asset for Slovakia.
Zabavnik is that rare bird, one who finds success wherever he lands - starting with Kosice, in Eastern Slovakia. Zabavnik gave the club four excellent seasons, scoring nine goals in the process, before moving on to MSK Zilina, where he would be nothing less than a revelation.
Zabavnik led his new side to two consecutive league titles - in 2003 and 2004 - to which he made a significant contribution, becoming a mainstay in the first team and providing another nine goals. His consistent displays were rewarded by the first of many caps for his country (41 to date). His time in Zilina was followed by four productive seasons in three different national championships, with CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria, Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic and Terek Grozny in Russia, picking up a variety of league and cup medals along the way. But while the scenery and languages changed, Zabavnik remained the same iron-willed and tireless performer he always was.
Selected for Slovakia six times during the qualifying phase for South Africa 2010, Zabavnik was most often employed at left-back, competing with Marek Cech for the position. In this year’s January transfer window, in an attempt to ensure his place in coach Vladimir Weiss’ 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ squad once and for all, he moved to Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga, where he established himself in the starting XI without any great fuss, as per usual.