Prodl also caused a sensation at the U20 World Cup in 2007, when he captained the FB team to finish fourth. At the time, the central defender already had senior team experience, but things really escalated after the tournament in Canada. “We had a great team then and Paul Gludowitz had an excellent coach. In Canada I developed the desire and the quality to show that I really could do this,” Prodl recalled.
In addition to Gludovatz, Prodl also mentioned Franco Foda and Thomas Schaaf as starting coaches in an interview with the APA. Under the ex-team boss, the then teenager made the leap to become a regular at Sturm, and under Schaaf he established himself in Werder in the German Bundesliga.
Light and shadow at the end of career
Then it was on Watford on the big stage of the Premier League. “I showed my best football there. I was made for this football,” Prodl said. The Styrian regularly held classes with the underdogs, made it to the FA Cup Final and was voted player of the season by Watford fans in 2017. “It was a huge honour,” Prodl insisted.
Watford’s commitment to partner club, Udinese, fell short of desired. The ex-ÖFB international came to the Northern Italians with a knee injury. He would have been fit for the last eight months of his contract but was never used again. In addition, there were unpleasant background noises such as contract disputes and missing payments. In the end, Prodl was able to prevail and a court case was avoided.
With the move to Udinese, the defender had hoped to make himself interesting again for the national team and EM 2021. The fact that this wish was not fulfilled does not leave a bad taste. “I have nothing to blame for myself, I’ve tried everything,” Styrian said.
“It was a great trip”
He played his last international match in a 0–2 draw in Denmark on 16 October 2018, his last competitive game was in a 0–2 draw at Watford in the English League Cup at Everton on 29 October 2019. After his contract with Udinese expired last year, he still toyed with the idea of continuing his career. “There were offers and possibilities, but none of them attracted me. Because of the negative experiences of the past few years due to hurt and non-thought, I’ve lost the will and energy to take myself again.”
An engagement in Australia or America would have attracted them, but did not materialise. Now it’s time to make the termination official. “Mentally, it’s not easy to say,” Prodl admitted, summarizing: “It was a great journey with many ups and downs.”
Ready for the next step
Now he is looking ahead. Prodl is a TV specialist, completing a UEFA management course and an investor on the Supervisory Board of Wiener Austria. There he wants to support those involved, but doesn’t want to be actively involved himself. “I don’t need to be in the public eye. I have to learn everything first.”
Prodl’s goal is not a coaching career goal, at least not at the moment. “As of now, it is not on my mind. It is often the case in Austria that after 70 international matches you often get stuck in things that you have not been able to do yet. I want to follow the Austrian path,” The daughters’ father explained, who now lives in Vienna. For his services to the national team, Prodl will be honored by FB on June 10 at the Hauple Stadium just before the France match, and will be admitted to the Legends club.
Sporting director Peter Schottel said in a statement to the association: “On behalf of the OFB I would like to thank Sebastian Prodl for his commitment and the work he has done for the national team for eleven years. I have seen him as an absolute leader and player of character. Known as someone who helped shape a generation and who I greatly appreciate as a person.”
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