|Full Name:||Petr Cech|
|Date of Birth:||20-May-1982|
|Place of Birth:||Plzen, Czech Republic|
|Height:||6 ft 51/2 in(1.97 m)|
Petr Čech (born 20 May 1982 in Plzeň, Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic) is a Czech international football goalkeeper who is currently contracted to English Premier League football club Chelsea F.C., 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. Cech also received the individual award of Best Goalkeeper in the 2004–2005 and 2006–2007 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 three records: a Czech professional league record of not conceding a goal in 855 competitive minutes, an English Premiership record of not conceding a goal in 1,025 minutes, and 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.
FC Viktoria Plzeň (1989–99)
Čech started out as a midfielder/striker for the youth team of his hometown club F.C. Viktoria in Plzen, occasionally taking the goalkeeping position in games. When he broke his leg at age 10, he switched to playing as the goalkeeper instead.
FK Chmel Blšany (1999–2001)
Čech made his senior-level debut as a 17-year-old for FK Chmel Blšany in 1999.
AC Sparta Praha (2001–02)
Čech really came of age in the 2001–02 campaign following a €700,000 transfer to AC Sparta Praha. The young custodian won a first-team place four matches into the Czech season, and proceeded to set a national record by going 855 minutes without conceding a goal. Just for good measure, he began Sparta's UEFA Champions League campaign by shutting out holders FC Bayern München and was not beaten until Matchday 5.
Rennes (2002–04) Predictably, Cech's performances and Champions League exposure alerted European scouts to the young goalkeeper's talent. After just one season at the Letná, Čech joined Stade Rennais FC in July 2002 for a reported fee of €5m. Not one of France’s glamour clubs, the Czech was virtually ever-present as Rennes preserved their Ligue 1 status and reached the Coupe de France semi-finals in 2003. He played all but five of Rennes' games as they finished ninth in the team's 2003–04 Ligue 1 season.
Čech and teammate Arjen Robben celebrate their second Premiership title.
It was Claudio Ranieri, then manager of Chelsea, who decided that the young Czech goalkeeper was his choice as understudy to Carlo Cudicini (though that was not exactly the way things turned out). In January 2004, he agreed a summer move to Chelsea for £7m (€10.3m), signing a five-year contract, to commence in July 2004. 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 Pinhas Zahavi and Barry Silkman.
When he arrived at Chelsea, there was uncertainty over whether he would be the first choice goalkeeper as Chelsea already had Carlo Cudicini, who many considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the English League. Complicating matters further was the fact that Ranieri, the manager who signed Cech, had been sacked. Incoming manager Jose Mourinho made the more experienced Cudicini his initial first choice goalkeeper. However, Cudicini made several clangers in pre-season friendlies, and when handed his opportunity, Cech, in contrast, impressed and gave his new team-mates confidence with his positioning and safe handling. Accordingly, Mourinho installed Čech as Chelsea's first choice goalkeeper once the season started.
Cech kept a clean sheet in his first competitive match as a Chelsea player, in a high-profile 1–0 victory against Manchester United, and has not looked back since.
On 5 March 2005 Čech set a new Premiership record of 1025 minutes without letting in a goal. He finally conceded a goal from Leon McKenzie of Norwich City. He had kept 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.
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 during Chelsea's Premier League match versus Blackburn, keeping a clean sheet.Head injury
On 14 October 2006, Čech and Reading's Stephen Hunt challenged for the ball in the first minute of a league game at the Madejski Stadium, resulting in Čech's head colliding with Hunt's knee and leaving the keeper concussed. After immediate replacement by Carlo Cudicini (who was also left unconscious during the game after a challenge with Sonko), Čech was taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital's Accident and Emergency unit, and that evening taken to Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary's specialist neuro-surgical unit. Čech then underwent surgery for a depressed fracture of the skull. The injury nearly cost Čech his life. As a result of the collision, Čech 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 in a statement said "the challenge [was] a disgrace. He is lucky to still be alive", later also criticising the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the match referee, Mike Riley. Much media comment followed, some agreeing with, some condemning Mourinho. 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. In a note, Chelsea informed that the goalkeeper will be out for three months, a standard medical timescale for the complete recovery of skull fractures. Čech was interviewed on Chelsea TV, where he said that he could not remember the injury itself and that he was grateful for all the support he had received over this period.Return
Čech made his comeback against Liverpool on 20 January 2007, wearing a rugby style headguard, which he continued to wear in every game until the end of the season. The headguard was made by Canterbury of New Zealand, a company that specialises 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 stucture in his skull, a product of him being one of triplets. He will almost certainly wear it for the remainder of his career
He made his comeback against Liverpool. Although Chelsea lost this match 2–0, Čech 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 Tevez scored against him.
Following his injury and comeback, Čech has been recognised as even more important to Chelsea's success than before. He was one of the players named by his then boss José Mourinho as an 'untouchable' and was presented with the Chelsea Award for Outstanding Achievement in recognition of his remarkable comeback from a serious injury.
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 Stadium. Chelsea beat United 1–0 to win the FA Cup, the first of Čech's career.International career
Čech 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.