Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has announced that he will end his career in professional soccer after the Premier League season concludes, ending a 20-year run as one of the top goalkeepers in the world for the Czech international.
Cech took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to address his fans and explain his decision.
“This is my 20th season as a professional player 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,” Cech wrote. “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.”
Cech Leaves Legendary Legacy
Cech is considered by many to be the best goalkeeper in Premier League history. He spent 11 seasons with Chelsea before moving to Arsenal in 2015. Overall, the 36-year-old won 13 trophies with Chelsea, and also won the FA Cup in 2017 with Arsenal.
His individual accomplishments are just as impressive. He holds the record for the most clean sheets in EPL history, having shut out opponents 202 times. He also holds the single-season record for clean sheets with 24, and was the quickest ever to 100 shutouts. He has won the Premier League Golden Glove four times, tied for the most ever with Manchester City keeper Joe Hart.
Cech has also starred for his country in international play. He helped the Czech Republic reach the 2006 World Cup, and played in four European Championships, making the competition All-Star team in 2004 when the Czechs reached the semifinals. He has won the Czech Footballer of the Year award a record nine times.
Cech ‘Fantastic Ambassador’ for Club and Country
But age has started to catch up to the veteran. This season, he lost the position as starting goalkeeper for Arsenal to Bernd Leno, with Leno getting 15 starts in Premier League play compared to just seven for Cech.
Chelsea paid tribute to Cech on Twitter, while Arsenal released a statement saying that while the news saddened the club, they understood and supported the decision.
“We know Petr will continue to make a big contribution in the future, whatever he decides to do,” a message posted to the Arsenal website read. “Petr has been an extraordinary player during his 15 years in the Premier League and an exemplary professional on and off the pitch. He has been a fantastic ambassador for Arsenal, Chelsea, and the Czech Republic and will always hold a special place in the affections of football fans around the world.”
Arsenal currently sits in fifth place in the Premier League, 16 points behind Liverpool. Accordingly, William Hill lists them as a 500/1 longshot to win the EPL title this season. However, Arsenal is given much better odds of winning the FA Cup (10/1) or the Europa League (5/1), both of which give Cech a reasonable chance of earning one final trophy before his career ends.