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Petr Čech ( ), (born 20 May 1982 in Plzeňmarker, Czechoslovakiamarker, now Czech Republicmarker) is a Czech international football goalkeeper who is currently contracted to English Premier League football club Chelsea, for whom he has played since July 2004. Petr Čech has previously played for Viktoria Plzeň, Chmel Blšany, Sparta Prague, and Rennes. He was voted into the all-star team of Euro 2004 after helping his country reach the semi-finals. Čech also received the individual award of Best Goalkeeper in the 2004/2005, 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 seasons of the UEFA Champions League. In addition, he was named in the FIFPro and UEFA Champions League teams of the season in 2006.

He currently holds one record: a Czechmarker professional league record of not conceding a goal in 855 competitive minutes (he previously held a record for the most clean sheets accomplished in a single Premier League season (25), set during Chelsea’s 2004–05 title-winning campaign). He also has a club record at his former team Sparta Praha, having gone 928 minutes unbeaten in all competitions in 2001–2002, when his unbeaten run in Czech league competition was combined with his performances in the UEFA Champions League. During the 2004–05 season, Čech went 1,025 minutes without conceding a goal - a former Premier League record until Edwin van der Sar of Manchester United broke it on 27 January 2009

Club career

Early career

Cech started playing football at age 7 in his native town. As a young boy, he played for Viktoria Plzen and he first started as a striker due to him being tall at an early age. Cech started as a goal keeper in training, goalkeeper coaches took note of his abilities. By age 14, Petr Cech grew from 180 cm to 196 cm. This drew him attention, not because of his height, but his talent as a goalkeeper.

Chelsea

It was Claudio Ranieri, then manager of Chelsea, who decided that Čech was his choice as understudy to Carlo Cudicini. After the original bid was rejected, Rennes accepted a second in February. Čech agreed a summer move to Chelsea for £7 million, signing a five-year contract, to commence in July 2004. This transfer meant that he had cost more than every other Chelsea goalkeeper in history put together. Čech’s transfer from Rennes was one of those about which the Stevens inquiry report in June 2007 expressed concerns because of the lack of co-operation from agents Pini Zahavi and Barry Silkman.

When he arrived at Chelsea, Carlo Cudicini was Chelsea's established first choice, but after Cudicini suffered a pre-season elbow injury, Čech was promoted into the starting spot, which he kept into the new 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 Premiership record of 1,025 minutes without letting in a goal. This record has since been broken by Manchester United's Edwin van der Sar. He finally conceded from 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 Gloves at the end of the 2004-05 season for keeping a record 25 clean sheets. Chelsea retained the Premiership title in 2005—06, with Čech playing in all but two games in the League. The team conceded only 15 goals in the entire League season, also a record.

He signed a new contract on 1 February 2006 which will keep him at the club until 2010.

Čech underwent minor shoulder surgery on 27 June 2006 to repair a long-standing injury stemming from the previous English Premiership season. Čech returned to action on 27 August 2006.

Head injury

On 14 October 2006, Čech and Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt both challenged for the ball inside Chelsea's penalty area in the first minute of a league match at the Madejski Stadiummarker. Hunt’s knee hit Čech's head, leaving the keeper dazed. Čech was immediately taken off and replaced by Carlo Cudicini, who himself was knocked unconscious later in the same game. Captain John Terry ended up going in goal for the 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 and was warned by his doctor that returning too early could be fatal. Speaking shortly afterwards, Čech’s father claimed his son would be out of football for a year.

Chelsea manager José Mourinho blamed Hunt for Čech's injury, saying:
"The challenge was a disgrace.
He is lucky to still be alive."
He also criticised the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust and match referee Mike Riley. Also because Čech is a triplet his skull is weaker than that of the average person. Much media comment followed, some agreeing with, some condemning Mourinho's claims. A number of commentators, including current and former goalkeepers, saw the incident as highlighting the need for greater protection for keepers.

Following hospital treatment, Čech returned home on 24 October 2006 and in the following week he came back to a period of light training. However, Chelsea 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 on Chelsea TV, Čech said that he had no memory of the injury itself.

Return

Čech made his comeback against Liverpool on 20 January 2007, wearing a rugby style headguard, which he continued to wear in every game. The headguard was made by Canterbury of New Zealand, a company that specializes in protective rugby gear, and includes extra plastic polymer foam protection to cover the areas of his skull weakened by the collision. Čech’s use of the headguard caused initial friction with Chelsea’s apparel manufacturer Adidas, which were not pleased by a Chelsea player apparently advertising for another company, but the controversy quickly blew over.

In spite of the considerable time lapsed since the injury, Čech has continued to wear the headguard owing to a weaker than normal bone structure in his skull, a product of him being one of triplets.

Although Chelsea lost Čech's comeback match 2-0, he then went approximately 810 minutes of Premiership play without conceding a goal. On 11 April 2007, Čech was awarded the FA Premier League Player of the Month award for the first time in his career in recognition of the eight successive league clean sheets he had kept. He also 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 Tévez scored against him.

Čech also kept a clean sheet for Chelsea in the 2007 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. He shared with United’s Edwin van der Sar the honour of being the first goalkeepers to keep a clean sheet over 90 minutes in a competitive fixture, but became the first goalkeeper to end a competitive game unbeaten, at the new Wembley Stadiummarker, as Chelsea beat United 1-0 to win the FA Cup.

2007-08 season

Čech’s 2007-08 season got off to a rough start with Chelsea conceding 2 goals against Birmingham City on the first match of the season. Despite the setback, Chelsea managed to win 3-2 and set an English record for unbeaten league matches at home.

On 7 November 2007, Čech suffered an ankle injury in the 0-0 Champions League Match at Schalke 04. This sidelined him for a few weeks before badly bruising his hip against Blackburn on 23 December 2007.

Chelsea suffered their first major blow when they lost the Carling 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 Arsenal London derby and the Champions League quarter-final first and second legs.

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, having missed 22 games this season due to injuries, Čech said he hoped to get back on the field within a few weeks. He returned to action on 14 April, in a home match against Wigan, which Chelsea drew 1-1. He appeared in the Champions league final against Manchester United, where Chelsea lost on penalties, though Cech managed to save one penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo.

2008-09 season

Čech started off the 2008–09 season in stunning form, with Chelsea conceding only seven goals in 17 games, keeping 11 clean sheets; ten of which with Čech in goal. In November 2008, Chelsea beat Sunderland 5-0 at Stamford Bridge, a result that gave Čech a century of Chelsea clean sheets. Čech kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory over Juventus in the Champions League on his 200th appearance for the club, and he also starred in a crucial 1-0 victory away at Villa Parkmarker against Aston Villa, making good saves from Gabriel Agbonlahor and Gareth Barry to second Chelsea third in the Premier League. The following week, Čech helped Chelsea go second in the table after his side beat Wigan at Stamford Bridge 2-1, with Čech saving from Paul Scharner in the first half. Successive clean sheets by Čech in Chelsea's wins against Portsmouth and Coventry have seen his side consolidate their position in the Premier League whilst progressing into the FA Cup semi-finals. Cech also made crucial saves from Dirk Kuyt and Xabi Alonso as Chelsea beat Liverpool 3-1 at Anfieldmarker in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-finals.

In a crucial Premier League game in April 2009, with Chelsea seemingly cruising against Bolton Wanderers 4-0, 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. However Čech responded when he saved a penalty from Mark Noble in Chelsea's 1-0 win at the Boleyn Groundmarker against West Ham. He also kept a clean sheet in the next game against Barcelona during the Champions League semifinal first leg match. Following a 3-2 win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Lightmarker, Cech and Chelsea finished the season with the joint-tightest defence in the Premier League along with Manchester United; conceding just 24 goals over the course of the season. Despite conceding the fastest goal in FA Cup Final history, Cech helped Chelsea's 2009 FA Cup Final triumph over Everton. Chelsea won 2-1, earning the Czech his seventh trophy at the club.Along with John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, Cech is part of the "spine" of the Chelsea Football Club.

Former 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 Cezch goalkeeper over the choice of goalkeeper coach. The latter denied the claims saying that he was "disappointed with [Scolari] because never in my life have I had a personal goalkeeping coach".

2009-10 season

Cech began the 09-10 season in winning form with Chelsea, beating Manchester United in the Community Shield final at Wembley. With the game tied 2-2 at the end of normal time, Cech 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. However,on September 26, 2009, Čech was sent off and at the same time conceded the winning penalty for tripping Wigan Athletic midfielder Hugo Rodallega, in the defeat that broke the run and conceded the lead in the league to Manchester United for the time being.

International career

Čech began his career in the U15s, working his way up each age group level before making his senior debut in February 2002. He was part of the Czech Euro 2004 team. Some stunning 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 was placed third by the end of the group stages, and with one win against the United States, winning by 3–0, and two losses against Ghana and Italy, the score 2–0 in both games, the Czech Republic did not advance to the second round.

On 17 October 2007, Čech was captain of the Czech Republic team for 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 to score the second (and equalizing) goal.

After the blunder against Turkey, he took full responsibility of his team's exit from the UEFA Euro 2008 and actually considered retiring but then he was talked out of it and he stated that he wants to keep representing the Czech Republic "for many years to come" and also stated that he wants to repay his mistake and confidence that all the Czech Republic's players have in him.

Personal life

Čech is married to Martina Čechová (b. 1982) who is also of Czech nationality. They have daughter Adéla (b. January 23, 2008) and a son Damián. (b. June 16, 2009).

Statistics

  • Correct as of 12 September 2009
(C.S. = Clean sheets)

Club Season Apps C.S. C.S. % Yellows Reds
Chelsea 2009-10 7 3 43 % 0 1
2008-09 35 19 58 % 1 0
2007-08 21 15 71 % 1 0
2006-07 20 13 65 % 1 0
2005-06 34 17 50 % 1 0
2004-05 37 25 68 % 0 0
Rennes 2003-04 33 12 36 % 1 0
2002-03 37 12 32 % 0 0
Sparta Prague 2001-02 27 17 63 % 0 0
Blšany 2000-01 37 25 68 % 0 0
1999-00 1 0 0 % 0 0
Total 289 158 55 % 5 1


League games only. Updated on 26 September 2009.

Honours

Rennes
  • Coupe Gambardella : 2003


Chelsea


International
  • 2002 UEFA U21 Championship


Individual




References

  1. The career milestones - PART ONE – Biography – About Peter – Petr Čech's official website
  2. Cech aims to stay ahead of the game
  3. See Stephen Hunt #The Petr Čech incident for links to the debate in the media and elsewhere.
  4. Petr Cech hit by injury setback - Telegraph
  5. Petr Cech says Carlo Ancelotti is "ideal" man for Chelsea
  6. Total clean sheets divided by total matches played


External links




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