Čech with Arsenal in 2015
|Full name||Petr Čech|
|Date of birth||20 May 1982|
|Place of birth||Plzeň, Czechoslovakia|
|Height||1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)|
|1997–1998||Czech Republic U15||3||(0)|
|1998–1999||Czech Republic U16||15||(0)|
|1999||Czech Republic U17||3||(0)|
|1999–2000||Czech Republic U18||13||(0)|
|2000–2001||Czech Republic U20||7||(0)|
|2001–2002||Czech Republic U21||15||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:55, 11 February 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13:15, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
Petr Čech (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpɛtr̩ ˈt͡ʃɛx] ( listen); born 20 May 1982) is a Czech professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Arsenal. He is the former captain for the Czech Republic national team. Čech has previously played for Chmel Blšany, Sparta Prague, Rennes and Chelsea. He is the most capped player in the history of the Czech national team with 124 caps, and represented the country at the 2006 World Cup, as well as the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 European Championships. He was voted into the Euro 2004 all-star team after helping the Czechs reach the semi-finals. Čech also received the individual award of Best Goalkeeper in the 2004–05, 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons of the UEFA Champions League. In addition, he was named in the FIFPro and UEFA Champions League team of the season in 2006. He is considered to be one of the greatest and most respected goalkeepers of his generation.
Čech joined Chelsea in 2004 and made 486 official appearances for the club, putting him sixth in its all-time appearances list. With Chelsea, Čech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Europa League and one UEFA Champions League. Čech kept a club record 220 clean sheets for Chelsea in all competitions.
Čech holds a number of goalkeeping records, including the Premier League record for fewest appearances required to reach 100 clean sheets, having done so in 180 league appearances, as well as the record for the most clean sheets in Premier League history. At the end of the 2015–16 season, the record stood at 178, nine better than the record of 169 set by David James.  He also holds a Czech professional league record of not conceding a goal in 903 competitive minutes. In addition, he has a club record at his former club Sparta Prague, having gone 928 minutes unbeaten in all competitions in 2001–02, when his unbeaten run in the Czech First League was combined with his performances in the Champions League. During the 2004–05 season, Čech went 1,025 minutes without conceding a goal – a Premier League record, until it was surpassed by Edwin van der Sar of Manchester United on 27 January 2009. Čech also won the Golden Glove (the award for the Premier League goalkeeper with the most clean sheets) four times; in the 2004–05 season, the 2009–10 season, the 2013–14 season and the 2015–16 season. He is the only goalkeeper to have won the award with two separate clubs.
- 1 Club career
- 1.1 Early career
- 1.2 Rennes
- 1.3 Chelsea
- 1.4 Arsenal
- 2 International career
- 3 Style of play
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Career statistics
- 6 Honours
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Born in Plzeň, Czechoslovakia, Čech started playing football aged seven for Škoda Plzeň (later known as Viktoria Plzeň). In his early days, he played as a striker, although he later moved to the goalkeeper position. Čech joined Czech First League team Chmel Blšany in June 1999 and made his league debut at the age of 17 in October 1999, in a 3–1 loss against Sparta.
Čech signed a 5 1⁄2-year contract with Sparta Prague at the age of 18 in January 2001, although he remained at Blšany until the end of the 2000–01 season. In November 2001, Čech broke the record formerly held by Theodor Reimann for the longest time elapsed without conceding a goal in the Czech professional league, stretching his run to 855 minutes. His clean sheet record finally ended when he was beaten by a goal from Marcel Melecký of Bohemians on 17 November 2001, ending his record at 903 consecutive minutes without conceding.
Despite Čech not winning the league title in the spring of 2002 with Sparta, he attracted interest from English clubs including Arsenal due to his international performances. Due to difficulties in obtaining a work permit, however, a proposed deal with the Gunners fell through.
During his first season in France, he was awarded man of the match against Paris Saint-Germain by L'Équipe. In May 2003, Rennes was at the bottom of the league table, yet escaped relegation with a win over Montpellier in the final matchday.
Čech trialled with Chelsea in 2003. The club's then manager Claudio Ranieri wanted Čech to be understudy to Carlo Cudicini, and made a transfer bid for Čech in January 2004. Although an initial bid was rejected, Rennes agreed to Čech's move to Chelsea for £7 million in February. Čech signed a five-year contract, to commence in July 2004, becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in Chelsea's history. Čech's was one amongst many British club transfers that came under the spotlight in the 2006 football corruption investigation for being potentially in breach of transfer regulations. The Stevens inquiry report, published in June 2007, found no evidence of illegal payments.
When Čech arrived at Chelsea, Carlo Cudicini was established as Chelsea's first choice goalkeeper. Cudicini, however, suffered a pre-season elbow injury that allowed Chelsea manager José Mourinho to promote Čech into the starting spot, where he became the first-choice goalkeeper in his first season. He kept a clean sheet in his Premier League debut in a 1–0 victory over Manchester United.
On 5 March 2005, Čech set a new Premier League record of 1,025 minutes without letting in a goal, though his record has since been broken by Manchester United's Edwin van der Sar. Čech finally conceded to Leon McKenzie of Norwich City, after keeping a clean sheet in the league since 12 December 2004 when Thierry Henry scored for Arsenal. Čech was given a special award by the Premier League for the new record, and he was also awarded the Golden Glove at the end of the 2004–05 season for keeping a record 21 clean sheets in the Premier League. The team, having conceded only 15 league goals in the entire season, also set a new record.
Chelsea retained the Premier League title in the 2005–06 season, with Čech playing in 34 league matches. Chelsea conceded just 22 times during the season. In January 2006, he was named the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper for 2005. In February 2006, Čech signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him at the club until 2010. He was also named the Czech Footballer of the Year for the first time.
Čech sustained a head injury in the match against Reading at the Madejski Stadium on 14 October 2006 when he collided with Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt inside Chelsea's penalty area within the first minute of a Premier League match. Hunt's right knee hit Čech's head, leaving the goalkeeper requiring treatment. Čech was taken off after several minutes and replaced by Carlo Cudicini, who himself was knocked unconscious later in the same game, forcing Chelsea captain John Terry to play goal for the match's remaining minutes. Čech underwent surgery for a depressed skull fracture. Initially unaware of the seriousness of the injury, the doctors later reported that it nearly cost Čech his life, and as a result of the collision, he suffered intense headaches.
Chelsea manager José Mourinho blamed Hunt for Čech's injury, saying that his challenge was "a disgrace". He also criticised the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust and match referee Mike Riley. A number of commentators, including current and former goalkeepers, saw the incident as highlighting the need for greater protection for goalkeepers.
Čech was able to return home on 24 October 2006 and participated in light training the following week. Chelsea, however, announced that the goalkeeper would be out for three months, in line with medical advice on the time needed for complete recovery from the skull fracture. In an interview, Čech said that he had no memory of the injury itself.
Čech made his comeback in a Premier League match against Liverpool on 20 January 2007, which Chelsea eventually lost 2–0, wearing a rugby style headguard made by Canterbury of New Zealand and carrying the manufacturer's logo. This caused friction with Czech national team sponsor Puma and Chelsea's apparel manufacturer Adidas. The matter was resolved after the latter sponsor developed its own headgear for Čech to wear in club matches, while the player went on to wear an unbranded cap for national team games. Even long after his injuries healed completely, Čech has continued to wear the cap to his matches.
Although Chelsea lost Čech's comeback match, he then went approximately 810 minutes of Premier League play without conceding a goal. On 11 April 2007, Čech was awarded the Premier League Player of the Month for the first time in his career, in recognition of his eight successive league clean sheets. He was the first goalkeeper to receive the award since Tim Flowers in 2000. This run was ended during a 4–1 Chelsea victory over West Ham United on 18 April 2007 when Carlos Tevez scored against him.
Čech also kept a clean sheet for Chelsea in the 2007 FA Cup final against Manchester United. He and United's Edwin van der Sar shared the honour of being the first goalkeepers to keep a clean sheet over 90 minutes in a competitive fixture at the new Wembley Stadium, but Čech became the first goalkeeper to end a competitive game unbeaten, as Chelsea beat United 1–0 to win the FA Cup.
Čech started the 2007–08 season conceding two goals against Birmingham City in the first match of the season. Despite this, Chelsea managed to win 3–2 and set an English record for their 64th consecutive unbeaten league match at home.
In November 2007, Čech suffered an injury to his right calf muscle in the 0–0 UEFA Champions League group stage match at Schalke 04. The following month, on 23 December 2007, he had to be replaced during a match against Blackburn Rovers due to a hip injury.
Chelsea suffered its first major blow when it lost the League Cup final to Tottenham Hotspur, with Čech parrying the ball onto Jonathan Woodgate's head for the winner. He played in several games until the eve of Chelsea's home Champions League tie with Greek champions Olympiacos when he injured his ankle in training. In the weeks that followed, Čech missed key games of Chelsea's campaign, including the derby with Arsenal and both legs of the Champions League quarter-final.
On 7 April 2008, it was announced that Čech had undergone emergency surgery on his chin and lips following an accidental collision with Tal Ben Haim during training. He had 50 stitches put on his mouth and chin and missed 22 games due to injuries. He returned to action on 14 April, in a home match against Wigan Athletic which Chelsea drew 1–1. He appeared in the Champions League final against Manchester United, where Chelsea lost in a penalty shootout.
Čech signed a new five-year contract in July 2008 to keep him at Chelsea until 2013. Chelsea started the 2008–09 season in good form, conceding only 7 goals in 17 games and keeping 11 clean sheets, 10 of which with Čech in goal.
In November 2008, Chelsea beat Sunderland 5–0 at Stamford Bridge, a game which marked the 100th match Čech had played for Chelsea without conceding a goal. Chelsea had a 1–0 victory over Juventus in the Champions League on his 200th appearance for the club, and he also starred in a 1–0 away victory at Villa Park against Aston Villa, saving from Gabriel Agbonlahor and Gareth Barry. The following week, Čech helped Chelsea move up to second place in the league by saving from Paul Scharner in the first half against Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea won 2–1. Successive clean sheets by Čech in Chelsea's wins against Portsmouth and Coventry City saw his side consolidate their position in the Premier League whilst progressing into the FA Cup semi-finals. Čech also made saves from Dirk Kuyt and Xabi Alonso as Chelsea beat Liverpool 3–1 at Anfield in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.
In a crucial Premier League game in April 2009, with Chelsea comfortably leading 4–0 against Bolton Wanderers, Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink took off both Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard only for Bolton to score three late goals which questioned the Chelsea defence, and in particular Čech. Čech, however, responded when he saved a penalty from Mark Noble in Chelsea's 1–0 win at the Boleyn Ground against West Ham. He also kept a clean sheet in the next game against Barcelona during the Champions League semi-final first leg match. Following a 3–2 win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Čech and Chelsea finished the season with the joint-tightest defence in the Premier League along with Manchester United, having conceded just 24 goals over the course of the season. Despite conceding the fastest goal in FA Cup final history, Čech helped Chelsea's 2009 FA Cup final triumph over Everton. Chelsea won 2–1, earning the Czech his seventh trophy at the club.
Former Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari accused Čech, Michael Ballack and Drogba of causing his sacking, saying that they "did not accept my training methods or my demands". Scolari also claimed that it stemmed from a row between him and the Czech goalkeeper over the latter's alleged insistence on being given a personal coach. Čech denied the claims saying that he was "disappointed with [Scolari] because never in my life have I had a personal goalkeeping coach".
Čech began the 2009–10 season in winning form with Chelsea, beating Manchester United in the Community Shield final at Wembley. With the game level at 2–2 at the end of normal time, Čech saved penalties from Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra. Čech kept goal for Chelsea in the six-match winning run that opened their season and placed them on top of the Premier League. On 26 September 2009, however, Čech was sent off and at the same time conceded the winning penalty for a trip on Wigan forward Hugo Rodallega, in the defeat that broke the run and conceded the lead in the league to Manchester United. On 27 February 2010, Čech sustained a calf injury in the Champions League match against Inter Milan. On 13 April, Čech kept his 100th Premier League clean sheet for Chelsea, against Bolton. He won his second Golden Glove award for the season, having kept 17 clean sheets in the Premier League as Chelsea secured a third title. He concluded his season by saving a penalty against Portsmouth in the FA Cup final, ensuring that the Blues went on to retain the Cup and achieve their first domestic double.
During 2010–11 pre-season training, Čech reaggravated the calf injury he suffered against Inter the previous season. Scans revealed a muscle tear that sidelined him for the next three weeks, including Chelsea's 3–1 loss to Manchester United in the Community Shield. He returned on 14 August and kept a clean sheet as Chelsea beat West Bromwich Albion 6–0. Čech then kept another clean sheet in a 2–0 win over Arsenal, before keeping a clean sheet in a 0–0 draw at Villa Park. On 7 March, Čech made his 300th Chelsea appearance, against Premier League side Blackpool, which Chelsea went on to win 3–1. On 19 May, Čech was awarded the Chelsea Player of the Year for the first time. More than 28,000 fans voted for the award, which was handed over by Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Čech started the opening game of Chelsea's 2011–12 Premier League season away to Stoke City, which ended 0–0. On 18 August 2011, Čech was ruled out for up to four weeks after he sustained a knee injury in training. He made his return three weeks later against Sunderland in which Chelsea won 2–1. He kept a clean sheet in Chelsea's first Champions League match of the season in a 2–0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. On 27 February, Čech was announced as the Czech Footballer of the Year for 2011, winning the award for the fifth time. On 24 March, Čech played his 250th league game for Chelsea against Tottenham Hotspur in a 0–0 draw at Stamford Bridge. Čech saved a penalty in extra time against former teammate Arjen Robben, and two penalties in the subsequent penalty shootout, of the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich resulting in the first Champions League win for Chelsea. Čech was named the Fans' Man of the Match following his heroic performance in goal for The Blues. By winning the Champions League, Čech became just the fourth Czech to win the competition. He finished the season by signing a new four-year contract with Chelsea in May, keeping him with the club until the end of the 2015–16 season.
Čech started in Chelsea's first match of the 2012–13 season, the 2012 Community Shield against Manchester City, but failed to keep a clean sheet as Chelsea went down 3–2 to goals from Yaya Touré, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri. He also featured in the last UEFA Super Cup to be played at Monaco's Stade Louis II, in which he conceded four goals as Chelsea lost 4–1 to the UEFA Europa League winners Atlético Madrid. In October 2012, Čech took the captain's armband as regular Chelsea captain John Terry was sidelined with a four-match ban.
On 19 October 2013, Čech made his 300th Premier League appearance for Chelsea, in a 4–1 home win over newly promoted side Cardiff City. On 11 January 2014, he kept his 209th clean sheet for Chelsea in all competitions in a 2–0 away win at Hull City, beating the club record set by Peter Bonetti.
On 18 March 2014, Čech made his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance in a 2–0 win over Galatasaray at Stamford Bridge. He became the fourth goalkeeper to make a century of appearances in the competition after Iker Casillas, Victor Valdés and Oliver Kahn.
On 22 April 2014, Čech was substituted in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Atlético Madrid with a shoulder injury. Chelsea manager José Mourinho stated that the injury would prevent Čech from playing again in the 2013–14 season. Despite the injury, Čech would finish the season as the joint winner of the Barclays Golden Glove award along with Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny, both keeping 16 clean sheets.
Čech's place as Chelsea's starting goalkeeper was taken at the start of the season by Thibaut Courtois. This was possibly due to Čech's long standing injury concerns to his shoulder, back and knees. On 24 September 2014, Čech made his first appearance of the season against Bolton in the third round of the League Cup, a 2–1 victory. He made his first league appearance of the season on 5 October, replacing the injured Courtois in the first half of a 2–0 home win over Arsenal. His second start of the season came in the Champions League group stage victory against Slovenian side Maribor, keeping a clean sheet as Chelsea won 6–0. With Courtois injured, Čech made his first league start of the season on 13 December against Hull, keeping a clean sheet in a 2–0 win.
Despite him being second choice, Mourinho stated that Čech would not be sold in the January 2015 transfer window due to third-choice Mark Schwarzer leaving for Leicester City. During that month, Čech made back to back starts in the Premier League against Newcastle United at home, followed by Swansea City away from home, keeping clean-sheets in both wins. On 1 March 2015, Čech started in goal in the 2015 League Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, keeping a clean sheet in a 2–0 victory to win the trophy for the third time in his career.
Last summer, things changed and I understood I was no longer the first-choice keeper, but I felt it was not the right time for me to go. During the season it became clear that my situation would not improve and, as I know I am not at the stage of my career where I want to be on the bench, I made my decision to move on and look for new challenges.
Čech signed for Chelsea's Premier League rivals Arsenal on a four-year contract on 29 June 2015, for a fee of around £10 million. The departure of Wojciech Szczęsny to Roma on loan made Čech first-choice goalkeeper ahead of David Ospina. On 2 August, Čech won his first trophy with Arsenal after beating former side Chelsea 1–0 in the 2015 FA Community Shield. A week later, he made his Premier League debut for Arsenal in a 2–0 home defeat to West Ham. On 20 October, he made his first Champions League appearance for Arsenal in a 2–0 win against Bayern Munich. Čech recorded his 170th Premier League clean sheet in a 2–0 win against AFC Bournemouth on 28 December 2015, setting a new league record and overtaking previous record holder David James. On 2 March 2016, he was sidelined due to a calf injury while playing against Swansea. On 2 April, he returned as an unused substitute against Watford and returned to pitch on 17 April against Crystal Palace in a narrow 1–1 draw and guided Arsenal to its 500th Premier League win on 21 April against West Brom.
|Wikinews has related news: Petr Čech retires from international football|
Čech first represented his country in November 1997 with the under-15 team, working his way up through different age groups before making his senior debut for the Czech Republic in February 2002. He first came to prominence as a 20-year-old at the 2002 U-21 European Championships when his penalty shoot-out heroics in the final against France, letting in only one of the penalty kicks, earned the Czech Republic their first title at youth level.
After establishing himself as the senior team's first choice goalkeeper, Čech was selected in the Czech Republic's squad for UEFA Euro 2004. Čech's saves helped his team progress as far as the semi-finals, where they lost to eventual winners Greece on the silver goal rule. He was named in the all-star team as best goalkeeper at the tournament.
The Czech Republic qualified for the 2006 World Cup, held in Germany, and were placed in Group E, alongside Ghana, Italy and the United States. The Czech Republic finished third in their group, following a 3–0 win against the United States, and two losses against Ghana and Italy, the score 2–0 in both games, thus not qualifying for the knock-out stages of the tournament.
On 17 October 2007, Čech captained the Czech Republic team in their Euro 2008 Group D qualifier against Germany. He kept a clean sheet and the Czechs defeated Germany 3–0 away to book their place for the finals in Austria and Switzerland. In the last group game of the final tournament, Čech was beaten three times in the final 15 minutes as Turkey overcame a two-goal deficit to knock the Czechs out. Čech had a cross slip through his hands, allowing Nihat Kahveci to score Turkey's equalizing goal.
On 29 May 2012, Čech was named in the Czech Republic's squad for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. In the Czech Republic's group match against Greece, a fumble from Čech allowed the Greeks a goal. The match, however, finished 2–1 in the Czech Republic's favour. Čech deputised for the injured Tomáš Rosický as captain in the final group match against Poland, as the Czech Republic qualified for the quarter-final with a 1–0 win. Čech's captaincy continued in the quarter-final, as Portugal eliminated the Czechs through a 79th-minute Cristiano Ronaldo goal.
On 26 March 2013, Čech made his 100th appearance for the Czech Republic, keeping a clean sheet in a 3–0 win over Armenia. He equalled the national record of former teammate Karel Poborský on 17 November 2015, when he earned his 118th cap in a 3–1 loss to neighbours Poland in Wrocław. The following 27 May, he took the record outright by playing in a 6–0 friendly win over Malta.
On 8 July 2016, Čech announced his retirement from international football. He is the most capped player in the history of the Czech team, with 124 caps.
Style of play
Since his emergence as a precocious talent in his youth, Čech has been considered to be one of the greatest and most respected goalkeepers of his generation. A tall and athletic keeper, with a strong mentality, throughout his career he has stood out for his reflexes and shot-stopping abilities, as well as his positional sense and command of his area.
Čech married Martina Dolejšová (now Čechová) (b. 1982), also of Czech nationality, in June 2003. They have a daughter Adéla (b. 23 January 2008) and a son Damián (b. June 2009), both born in the Czech Republic.
He is also a keen musician and plays the drums. He has posted a video drum tutorial of Incubus' "Anna Molly" on YouTube, as well as songs by Coldplay and Foo Fighters. Čech has also played with Roger Taylor of Queen.
Along with his native Czech, Čech also speaks English, French, German and Spanish.
|Blšany||1999–2000||Czech First League||2||0||1||0||–||–||3||0|
|2000–01||Czech First League||25||0||0||0||–||–||25||0|
|Sparta Prague||2001–02||Czech First League||27||0||3||0||–||12||0||42||0|
- As of match played 5 June 2016
|Czech Republic national team|
- Premier League (4): 2004–05, 2005–06, 2009–10, 2014–15
- FA Cup (4): 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12
- Football League Cup (3): 2004–05, 2006–07, 2014–15
- FA Community Shield (2): 2005, 2009
- UEFA Champions League (1): 2011–12
- UEFA Europa League (1): 2012–13
- Czech Republic
- UEFA European Football Championship: Semi-finalist 2004
- UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship (1): 2002
- UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Golden Player (1): 2002
- Best Goalkeeper of French League (1): 2003–04
- UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament (1): 2004
- Premier League Golden Glove (4): 2004–05, 2009–10, 2013–14*, 2015–16
- Premier League PFA Team of the Year (2): 2004–05, 2013–14
- Czech Footballer of the Year (8): 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
- Golden Ball (Czech Republic) (8): 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
- IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper (1): 2005
- Best European Goalkeeper (3): 2005, 2007, 2008
- UEFA Club Football Awards Best Goalkeeper (3): 2005, 2007, 2008
- UEFA Team of the Year (1): 2005
- ESM Team of the Year (2): 2004–05, 2005–06
- Premier League Player of the Month (1): March 2007
- Chelsea Player of the Year (1): 2010–11
(* Jointly shared with Wojciech Szczęsny)
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2005). The PFA Premier & Football League Players' Records 1946–2005. Queen Anne Press. p. 113. ISBN 1-85291-665-6.
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