Former Chelsea and Arsenal shot-stopper Petr Cech is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers to have played in the Premier League.
Cech won the title four times during his 11-year stay at Chelsea, and was voted into the Premier League Hall of Fame in May 2023.
|Date of birth||20th May 1982|
|Place of birth||Plzen, Czech Republic|
|Premier League clubs||Chelsea, Arsenal|
|Premier League appearances||443|
|Premier League assists||2|
|Premier League clean sheets||202|
|Premier League titles||4|
Cech started his career at Chmel Bisany, before joining Sparta Prague for a single season where he set a record of going 903 minutes without conceding a goal.
This attracted the attention of Ligue 1 side Rennes, and he saw plenty of action after moving to France as his team escaped relegation on the final day of the season.
However, Cech’s reputation was growing and Chelsea spent £7million to acquire the Czech goalkeeper’s services in the summer of 2004.
They were rewarded immediately as Cech took over from Carlo Cudicini as Jose Mourinho’s first choice between the posts, going a massive 1,025 minutes without conceding a goal and setting a record of 24 clean sheets in a Premier League season.
Chelsea retained the title the following season, but October 2006 was a worrying time as Cech suffered a fractured skull in a clash with Reading’s Stephen Hunt.
He was out for three months and reported not being able to remember a single detail about the incident and, when he reappeared, he was donning a rugby-style scrum cap which he wore for the remainder of his career.
Cech’s third Premier League triumph came in 2010, when the Blues also won the FA Cup, with the goalkeeper saving a Kevin Prince-Boateng penalty in the final against Portsmouth.
He was the hero again two years later, saving a penalty from his former team-mate Arjen Robben as Chelsea won their first Champions League title against Bayern Munich at the German side’s home of the Allianz Arena.
Cech was then part of the squad that won the 2014-15 Premier League title, in what was his last season at Stamford Bridge.
With Belgian Thibaut Courtois becoming first choice at Chelsea, Cech moved across London to Arsenal where he firstly beat David James’ record for Premier League clean sheets and then became the first goalkeeper to keep 200 shutouts in England’s top tier.
He retired from the game after a final appearance in the Europa League final in 2019, a 4-1 defeat to his old team Chelsea.
Cech was always renowned as a great all-round goalkeeper even in an age when they are expected to be just as efficient with their feet as they are with their hands.
Being a neat footballer on the ground was never Cech’s forte, but he adapted well to the new fashion for sweeper-keepers and his ability to come off his line became a big asset,
He was also noted for his penalty saves on big occasions, with none bigger than in the 2012 Champions League final.
Following his retirement, Cech went back to Chelsea where he became technical and performance director, which was an interesting time in which he was forced to deal with the fallout of attempts to form a breakaway European Super League.
He left Stamford Bridge for the second time when Todd Boehly completed his takeover of the club in June 2022.
He has remained in competitive sport, however, playing in the British Ice Hockey League as a netminder.
Cech had spells at the Guildford Phoenix and Chelmsford Chieftains and is currently registered as a player with the Oxford City Stars.
Cech is one of triplets, along with his sister Sarka and brother Michal.