Association football player
Petr Cech (born 20 May 1982) is a former Czech professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He last played for Premier League club Arsenal. He is widely regarded by players, pundits and managers as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
Born in Plzen, Cech began his senior career at Chmel Blsany in 1999, where he played sporadically for two seasons prior to relocating to domestic superpower Sparta Prague in 2001. At age 19, Cech became a first team regular, and his single campaign with the club was fruitful, as he registered a league record of not conceding a goal in 903 competitive minutes. This garnered him his first move abroad, when he relocated to France to join Ligue 1 side Rennes for a fee of EUR5.5 million (£3.9 million) in 2002.
In France, Cech starred in an under-performing team, and soon moved to Premier League side Chelsea for a fee of £7 million (EUR9.8 million) in 2004, which was then a club record transfer for a goalkeeper. During his eleven year stay at the club, Cech registered 494 senior appearances, making him the club's highest overseas appearance maker, and sixth all-time. He also helped the club win four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Europa League title, and one UEFA Champions League title. He also holds the club all-time record for clean sheets, with 228. Cech departed Chelsea in 2015 to join city rivals Arsenal for a fee of £10 million, where he won another FA Cup before retiring in 2019.
A Czech international, Cech made his debut with the Czech Republic in 2002, and is the most capped player in the history of the Czech national team, with 124 caps. He also represented his 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, and also served as the team's captain, prior to retiring from international competition in 2016. Cech also holds the record for the most Czech Footballer of the Year and Czech Golden Ball wins.
Cech 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 appearances, the most number of clean sheets in a season (24), as well as the record for the most clean sheets in Premier League history (202). Cech is also the only goalkeeper to have won the Premier League Golden Glove with two separate clubs, and has won it a joint record four times; in 2004-05, 2009-10, 2013-14 and the 2015-16. He was voted the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper in 2005, received the award of Best Goalkeeper in the 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2007-08 editions of the UEFA Champions League, and went 1,025 minutes without conceding a goal in 2004-05, which was also a Premier League record.