Petr Čech to retire from competitive

football at the end of this season

A glorious career of an excellent footballer is coming to an end. Goalkeeper Petr Čech will see out this season at Arsenal but will not add any more appearances at top level football after that. “I’ve thought about it long and hard, the decision has been brewing inside me for some time. And I’m convinced that this is the right time. This summer, it will be 20 years since I signed my first professional contract, and 15 years since I came to England. Every single day of my career I gave my all to be the best player I could be for my club, and that will not change in the upcoming weeks. I will stay focused and give all my strength to the game I love.”

The 36-year-old goalkeeper has become a legend in the Czech Republic and England alike. Having played for Viktoria Plzeň, Blšany, Sparta Prague, Rennes and Chelsea FC, he will conclude his fruitful footballing story at Arsenal. “I wanted to announce my decision early, to give the club and all the people involved ample time to react. One thing I can say for myself is that once I take such a decision, I’m not going to change it. Just as I felt it had been right for me to retire from the national team when I did – even though I was happy playing for my country – I feel it is right for me now too. I will miss playing football, of course, it’s been a huge part of my life for the past thirty years. But you have to know when to leave the scene.”

Petr Čech holds the record of keeping the most clean sheets in Premier League: at the moment, the number stands at 202. He has been more than prolific in his career, winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, as well as one UEFA Champions League title and one UEFA Europa League title. He was awarded the Czech Footballer of the Year award nine times, and the Czech Football Press Best Player of the Year award twelve times. With 124 caps, he’s also a record holder for the Czech national team, with which he placed third at the 2004 UEFA European Championship. And even before that, in 2002, he became the champion at the U-21 European Championships.

This spring will be very hectic for the seasoned goalkeeper. “I will do my utmost to ensure that we finish the season with at least one of the trophies we’re playing for. That would be the perfect ending, the cherry on top. Any further plans I’ll only make after that. I know I there are several possibilities open for me, but I need time to properly think about them.”

Petr Čech’s retirement marks the end of an era for Czech football. The glorious generation of players that dominated European scene at the beginning of the 21st century is slowly moving from football pitches to different roles. “Petr Čech is exceptional. I’m proud to say I’ve been by his side since the very beginning and to this day I have nothing but admiration for the level of professionalism he shows in everything he does. Combined with his intelligence and a friendly disposition, it is no wonder that he’s one of the most successful and significant ambassadors of Czech sport. Petr’s success isn’t defined only by his titles and trophies; for me, his most important achievement is the long list of friends he made on the many levels of football he’s been through during his career. He is undeniably a global sports star, but he’ll always be the guy from Plzen who simply loves football. I’m sure that he’ll be just as successful in anything he chooses to do next, whatever it may be,” said Viktor Kolář from Sport Invest, the agency that has represented Petr Čech since the beginning of his career.

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