Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has announced his retirement from playing football professionally.
In a post on Twitter, the experienced Czech international revealed his intention and gave his reasons. He said:
“This is my 20th season as a professional and it has been 20 years since I signed my first professional contract, so it feels like the right time to announce that I will retire at the end of this season. Having played 15 years in the Premier League, and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve. I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy this season, then I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch.”
Cech started his professional career in his homeland with Bišany in 1999, before joining Sparta Prague in 2001. He spent only one season in the capital, and the following two he played for Ligue 1 side Rennes. Having seen a bid for his services rejected in January 2004, Chelsea signed him the following summer and effectively acquired a first-choice goalkeeper for the next decade.
During his days at Stamford Bridge, Cech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cup trophies, three League Cups, two FA Community Shields, the 2012 Champions League and 2013 Europa League.
In the summer of 2014, Thibaut Courtois returned to Chelsea from a highly successful loan spell with Atletico Madrid, and Cech lost his place between the posts to the Belgian. During the season, he was linked with departure from the club, but the sale of Mark Schwarzer to Leicester City in January 2015 prompted manager Jose Mourinho to shut the door and force him to stay.
He finally made the move to Arsenal in the summer of that year, replacing Wojciech Szczesny as the first choice under Arsene Wenger. He was the undisputed starter for three seasons before Unai Emery arrived and signed Bernd Leno as his long-term successor. Cech started the first several games of the season, but since then Leno has completely taken over.
Cech will turn 37 at the end of the season, and those who have seen him play will be feeling privileged to have witnessed the career of a true football great.
Thank you Petr Cech.