Petr Cech announced his imminent retirement from football at the end of the current 2018/2019 football season, and as far as announcements go, his did not cause as much noise as I could expect it to online and offline. This is possibly the greatest goalkeeper not named Peter Schmeichel to play in the English Premier League in the last 30 years!!
It is a well-known fact that goalkeepers don’t get the same adulation and focus given to attackers in football, but I think one of the all-time greatest goalkeepers in the English premier league deserves a bit more praise, so here is my small effort towards remedying that.
Born on 20th may 1982 in Plzen, Czechoslovakia, Petr Cech’s career started as a striker at local club Skoda Plzen, before changing position to be a goalkeeper for his team. He made his professional debut for Chmel Blsany aged just 17 in 1999.
His career took him to Sparta Prague, where he began his trend of setting records, going 903 consecutive meetings without conceding. His sterling performances caught the eye of established clubs in Europe, and in 2002, Rennes of France stole a match on rival clubs by getting his signature. He established himself as a first choice for the mid-table French side, helping them stave off relegation for two seasons.
In 2004, he was signed by the nouveau riche Chelsea football club, and there he would form part of a spine that included John Terry, Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele, and Didier Drogba, and a side that can lay claim at being England’s most successful football side of the 21st century.
Between 2004 and 2015, Petr Cech became the all-time most capped international footballer at Chelsea, winning virtually everything available with the club, becoming internationally recognized as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. His career suffered an almost fatal blow on 14th October 2006 when he got injured in a collision with Reading FC striker Stephen Hunt on his head.
He would return on January 2007, wearing the trademark headgear he has become famous for, which he still wears to this day, despite having fully recovered from the dreadful injury.
Chelsea had in 2015 a delicate scenario where they had two excellent goalkeepers, Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois, who had served a great apprenticeship at Atletico Madrid, and Petr Cech a modern legend of the game and the club. Mourinho favoured the younger, and more modern Courtois as the first choice, hence Cech joined London rivals Arsenal FC in July 2015.
He plugged a hole that the club had in the goalkeeping position, and would go on to win one FA cup with the club. Despite not reaching the heights he set at Chelsea, this is possibly a bigger indictment on the likes of Arsene Wenger and owner Stan Kroenke not investing in world-class defenders the likes of which Cech had been protected by at Chelsea.
Petr Cech had a great international career, being the first-choice goalkeeper for close to 14 years. He made his debut in February 2002, and retired in 2016, as the all-time most capped goalkeeper in his young country’s history, with 124 caps.
He is one of the last of a dying breed of goalkeepers who are shot stoppers first and foremost. He is possibly one of the best goalkeepers in the world still at claiming corners and high balls, and his height (officially 6 ft. 5) makes him a big target to beat in one on ones. He was never good with the ball at his feet, and as goalkeepers become better in possession and passing, his weaknesses have stood out like a sore thumb over the past few years.
Petr Cech retires as one of the best goalkeepers in the EPL era, second only possibly to Peter Schmeichel, loved by two sets of fans, Chelsea FC and arsenal, a true legend, great drummer and all round nice guy.
PETR CECH’S STATS COMPARED WITH THE GREATEST EPL KEEPERS
Talk is he is set to join Chelsea FC’s goalkeeping coaching setup after the season, showing how much goodwill he retains with owner Roman Abramovich and the club.
Enjoy him drumming here too, showing he is a man of many hats 😉