Petr Čech

Petr Čech (Czech pronunciation: [ˈpɛtr̩ ˈtʃɛx] (listen); born 20 May 1982) is a Czech professional footballer who currently has a combined role of a technical/performance advisor and an emergency goalkeeper for English club Chelsea. He also played semi-professional ice hockey as a goaltender for Guildford Phoenix. Described by numerous players, pundits and managers as one of the greatest goalkeepers in history,[nb 1] he is argued, alongside Peter Schmeichel, to be the greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history.[nb 2]

Petr Čech[1]
Čech with Chelsea in 2013
Born (1982-05-20) 20 May 1982[2]
Plzeň, Czechoslovakia
Height1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)[3]

Association football career
Position(s) Goalkeeper[4]
Youth career
1989–1999 Viktoria Plzeň
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2001 Chmel Blšany 27 (0)
2001–2002 Sparta Prague 27 (0)
2002–2004 Rennes 70 (0)
2004–2015 Chelsea 333 (0)
2015–2019 Arsenal 110 (0)
National team
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)
2002–2016 Czech Republic 124 (0)
Men's football
Representing  Czech Republic
UEFA European Under-21 Championship
Winner2002 Switzerland
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only
Ice hockey career
Position Goaltender
Played for Guildford Phoenix
Playing career 20192020

Čech began his senior career at Chmel Blšany in 1999, where he played sporadically for two seasons prior to relocating to Sparta Prague in 2001. At age 19, Čech became a first team regular, and his single campaign with the club saw him register a league record of not conceding a goal in 903 competitive minutes. This led to his first move abroad, when he relocated to France to join Ligue 1 side Rennes for a fee of €5.5 million (£3.9 million) in 2002.

In France, Čech starred in an under-performing team, and was the subject of a then club-record transfer for a goalkeeper when he moved to Premier League side Chelsea for a fee of £7 million (€9.8 million) in 2004. During his eleven year association with the club, Čech registered 494 senior appearances, making him the club's highest overseas appearance maker, and sixth all-time.[19] He also helped the club win four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Champions League title, and one UEFA Europa League title. Čech also holds Chelsea's all-time record for clean sheets, with 228.[20] Čech 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, Čech 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 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 served as the team's captain, prior to retiring from international competition in 2016. Čech also holds the record for the most Czech Footballer of the Year and Czech Golden Ball wins.

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 appearances, the most clean sheets in a season (24), as well as the record for the most clean sheets in Premier League history (202).[21][22] Čech 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 the 2004–05, 2009–10, 2013–14 and the 2015–16 seasons. 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 the 2004–05 season, a league record.[lower-alpha 1] He has the third-most clean sheets since 2000 among all goalkeepers.[24]

Club career

Early career

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 moved to the goalkeeper position after breaking his leg at age ten.[25] Čech joined Czech First League team Chmel Blšany in June 1999[26] and made his league debut at the age of 17 in October 1999, in a 3–1 loss against Sparta.[26]

Čech signed a 5+12-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.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29]

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.[30]


In July 2002, Čech moved to French club Rennes, signing a four-year contract for a transfer fee reported as CZK150 million (€5.5 million).[31]

During his first season in France, he was awarded man of the match against Paris Saint-Germain by L'Équipe.[32] In May 2003, Rennes was at the bottom of the league table,[32] yet escaped relegation with a win over Montpellier in the final matchday.[33]


Chelsea made a transfer bid for Čech in January 2004 which was rejected.[34] However in February Rennes agreed to Čech's move to Chelsea for £7 million. Čech signed a five-year contract, to commence in July 2004, becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in Chelsea's history at that time.[35][36] Čech's was one of 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.[37]

2004–06: Golden Glove, back-to-back Premier League wins

When Čech arrived at Chelsea, Carlo Cudicini was already 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.[38] On 5 March 2005, Čech set a new Premier League record of 1,025 minutes without letting in a goal, though his record was later 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.[36] Čech was given a special award by the Premier League for the new record, and he was also awarded the Premier League Golden Glove at the end of the 2004–05 season for keeping a record 21 clean sheets in the Premier League.[39]

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.[40] In January 2006, he was named the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper for 2005.[41] In February 2006, Čech signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him at the club until 2010.[42] He was also named the Czech Footballer of the Year for the first time.[43]

Čech underwent minor shoulder surgery on 27 June 2006 to repair a long-standing injury stemming from the previous season.[44] He returned to action on 27 August 2006.[45]

Čech and Arjen Robben celebrate their second Premier League title in 2006

Head injury

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.[46] 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 in goal for the match's remaining minutes.[46] Čech underwent surgery for a depressed skull fracture.[47] Initially unaware of the seriousness of the injury, the doctors later reported that it nearly cost Čech his life,[48] and as a result of the collision, he suffered intense headaches. Chelsea went on to win the match 1–0.[49]

Chelsea manager José Mourinho blamed Hunt for Čech's injury, saying that his challenge was "a disgrace".[50] He also criticised the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust[51] and match referee Mike Riley.[52] A number of commentators, including current and former goalkeepers, saw the incident as highlighting the need for greater protection for goalkeepers.[53][54]

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.[55] In an interview, Čech said that he had no memory of the injury itself.[56]

Čech playing for Chelsea in 2007


Čech made his comeback in a Premier League match in a 2–0 defeat against Liverpool on 20 January 2007, wearing a rugby style headguard[57] 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.[58] 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.[59] 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.[60]

2007–09: UEFA Champions League finalist, FA Cup triumph

Čech training for Chelsea in 2008

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.[61]

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.[62] The following month, on 23 December 2007, he had to be replaced during a match against Blackburn Rovers due to a hip injury.[63]

Chelsea suffered their first major blow when they lost the League Cup final to Tottenham Hotspur, with Čech parrying the ball onto Jonathan Woodgate's head for the winner.[64] He played in several games until injuring his ankle in training on the eve of Chelsea's home Champions League tie with Greek champions Olympiacos.[65][66] 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.[67][68] He had 50 stitches put on his mouth and chin.[69] 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 shoot-out.

Čech before Chelsea's first game of the 2008–09 season against Portsmouth

Čech signed a new five-year contract in July 2008 to keep him at Chelsea until 2013.[39] 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.[70] 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-final.

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.[71] 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.[72] 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.[73]

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 said 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".[74]

Čech training for Chelsea in 2010

2009–10: Domestic double, second Golden Glove

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.[75] 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.[76] On 27 February 2010, Čech sustained a calf injury in the Champions League match against Inter Milan.[77] On 13 April, Čech kept his 100th Premier League clean sheet for Chelsea, against Bolton.[78] He won his second Premier League Golden Glove award for the season, having kept 17 clean sheets in the Premier League as Chelsea secured a third title.[79] He concluded his season by saving a Kevin-Prince Boateng penalty against Portsmouth in the FA Cup final, ensuring that the Blues went on to retain the Cup and achieve their first domestic double.[80]

2010–13: Sustained domestic and European success

Čech playing for Chelsea in 2010

During 2010–11 pre-season training, Čech reaggravated the calf injury he suffered against Inter the previous season.[62] 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,[81] before keeping a clean sheet in a 0–0 draw at Villa Park.[82] 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.[83]

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.[84] 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.[85] On 24 March, Čech played his 250th league game for Chelsea against Tottenham Hotspur in a 0–0 draw at Stamford Bridge.[86] Čech saved a penalty in extra time against former teammate Arjen Robben, and two penalties in the subsequent penalty shoot-out, of the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich resulting in the first Champions League win for Chelsea.[87] Čech was named the Fans' Man of the Match following his heroic performance in goal for The Blues.[88] By winning the Champions League, Čech became just the fourth Czech to win the competition.[89] 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.[90]

Čech playing for Chelsea in the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup

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.[91] 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.[92] In October 2012, Čech took the captain's armband as regular Chelsea captain John Terry was sidelined with a four-match ban.[93]

In May 2013, Čech won the UEFA Europa League when Chelsea defeated Benfica 2–1 in the final.[94]

2013–15: Third Golden Glove and departure

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.[95] 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.[96]

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, Víctor Valdés and Oliver Kahn.[97]

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.[98] Despite the injury, Čech would finish the season as the joint winner of the Premier League Golden Glove award along with Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny, both keeping 16 clean sheets.[99]

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.[100] 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.[101] 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.[102] 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.[103]

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.[104] 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.[105][106] 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.[107]

2015–16: Fourth Golden Glove, league runner-up

"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, via open letter on Twitter, about his situation on Chelsea and his move to Arsenal[108]

Čech playing for Arsenal at the 2015 Emirates Cup

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.[109] His move saw him subjected to death threats by a few Chelsea supporters.[110] 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.[111] A week later, he made his Premier League debut for Arsenal in a 2–0 home defeat to West Ham.[112] On 20 October, he made his first Champions League appearance for Arsenal in a 2–0 win against Bayern Munich.[113]

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.[114][115] On 2 March 2016, he was sidelined due to a calf injury while playing against Swansea.[116] On 2 April, he returned as an unused substitute against Watford and returned to the pitch on 17 April against Crystal Palace in a narrow 1–1 draw[116] and guided Arsenal to its 500th Premier League win on 21 April against West Brom.[117] Marking the end of his debut season with Arsenal, he was named the Premier League Goalkeeper of the season by critics and platforms for winning the Golden Glove with an under-performing defence.[118]

Čech with Arsenal in 2019

2016–17: FA Cup win

Čech was given the captain's armband for Arsenal in their 4–3 opening day home loss to Liverpool.[119] In September 2016, he featured for the full 90 minutes in a 3–0 rout by Arsenal of his former side Chelsea at the Emirates.[120] On 24 April 2017, Čech played in the 2016–17 FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley, which Arsenal won 2–1.[121] During this season, Cech received mild criticism among Arsenal fans for his inability to play with the ball at his feet but meanwhile he had the third most clearances among all goalkeepers in Premier League with 11 which manifested his transformation into a "sweeper keeper".[122] Čech again held the captain's armband on 10 May 2017 in a 2–0 win over Southampton at the St Mary's Stadium.[123] Čech was sidelined for the FA Cup Final due to injury, but Arsenal beat Chelsea 2–1.[124] Čech won his fifth FA Cup, and Arsenal became the most successful club in the history of the competition with 13 tournament wins.[125][126]

2017–19: Record-breaker and retirement

Čech was Arsenal's starting goalkeeper in the 2017 Community Shield, against his former club Chelsea; following a 1–1 draw after regulation time, Arsenal won the match in a 4–1 penalty shoot-out, in which neither keeper saved a spot kick.[127][128]

Čech then held the armband to captain Arsenal in their 4–3 opening day home win over Leicester City.[129]

On 11 March 2018, Čech became the first Premier League goalkeeper to keep 200 league clean sheets, after a match against Watford in which he saved a penalty from Troy Deeney.[130]

Čech during his final game as a player, the 2019 UEFA Europa League Final

Čech started the season as the first choice in goal for new manager Unai Emery, but later lost his place to new signing Bernd Leno after suffering a hamstring injury during a match against Watford. On 15 January 2019, Čech announced via open letter on Twitter that he would retire at the end of the season.[131] On 29 May, he made the final appearance of his career in Arsenal's 4–1 defeat to his former club Chelsea in the 2019 UEFA Europa League Final.[132]

International career

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.[133]

Čech playing for the Czech national football team in 2010

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 to 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.[134]

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 equalising goal.[135]

On 29 May 2012, Čech was named in the Czech Republic's squad for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.[136] In the Czech Republic's group match against Greece, a fumble from Čech allowed the Greeks a goal.[137] 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.[138] Čech's captaincy continued in the quarter-final, where the Czechs lost to Portugal through a 79th-minute Cristiano Ronaldo goal.[139]

On 26 March 2013, Čech made his 100th appearance for the Czech Republic, keeping a clean sheet in a 3–0 win over Armenia.[140] 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.[141] The following 27 May, he took the record outright by playing in a 6–0 friendly win over Malta.[142]

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.[143]

Post-retirement career

Management and non-contract football

In June 2019, Čech returned to former club Chelsea as a technical and performance advisor.[144]

In October 2020, Čech was included in Chelsea's 25-man Premier League squad for the 2020–21 season.[145] The club announced that Čech was included as an emergency goalkeeper and as a non-contract player, and that this was a precautionary move due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[146] He made one appearance for the Chelsea's under-23 team in the Premier League 2.[147]

During a protest against the proposed European Super League outside Stamford Bridge on 20 April 2021, Čech approached fans who were blocking the team bus and could be heard saying "give us time".[148][149] The fans did move and the team bus was able to enter after a short delay.[150] Later that day, Chelsea were among the first clubs to withdraw from the league.[151][152]

Ice hockey

On 9 October 2019, Čech signed for ice hockey side Guildford Phoenix of the National Ice Hockey League Division 2 (level 4 of British hockey) as a goaltender.[153] He chose to wear number 39 jersey in honour of Dominik Hašek.[154] Čech said he would continue his role as a technical and performance advisor at Chelsea whilst playing ice hockey in his spare time.[155] He was named the man of the match on his ice hockey debut on 13 October, after stopping two penalties in a shoot-out victory, and making several other crucial saves.[156][157]


Club Season GP SO G A Ref.
Guildford Phoenix 2019–20 6 2 0 0 [158]

Style of play and reception

Čech diving in an attempt to save Thibaut Courtois's penalty in Arsenal's 4–1 shoot-out victory in the 2017 FA Community Shield, against his former club Chelsea


Since his emergence as a precocious talent in his youth, Čech has been considered to be one of the greatest, most consistent, and most respected goalkeepers both of his generation and of all time.[159][160][161][162][163] A tall, athletic, agile, brave, physically strong, and well-rounded keeper, with a strong mentality, as well as good decision-making and leadership qualities; throughout his career he has stood out for his reflexes and shot-stopping abilities, as well as his positional sense, concentration, defence organisation, handling when coming off his line to claim crosses, and command of his area.[nb 3]

Although Čech is not as adept with the ball at his feet as the newer generation of goalkeepers that emerged in his later career,[176] he possesses a deep kick with either foot, despite being naturally left-footed. His ability to produce deep kicks and long throws came to use in his Chelsea days for starting quick counter-attacks which were a important part of their game.[177][178][179] In his later career, he often functioned as a sweeper keeper, due to his ability to rush off his line, anticipate opponents who had beaten the offside trap, and clear the ball away from danger.[122] Čech is also known for his penalty-saving abilities. Some examples of his penalty saves in high-profile matches include those made in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, the 2010 FA Cup Final, and his penalty save against Blackburn during the 2004–05 season, which helped him beat Peter Schmeichel's Premier League record of 694 minutes without conceding a goal.[180]


"I am honoured to have been the manager that, at such an early age, gave Petr a top Premier League [starting berth]. After that day, it is all about him. All about his numbers, his performances, his clean sheets, his titles and his professionalism".

- Former Chelsea manager José Mourinho on Čech.[5]

Čech is considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers both of his generation and of all time, as well as one of the best keepers in Premier League history, and has earned praise from several players, pundits, and managers due to his goalkeeping ability.[11][159][160][161][162][163] Fellow goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon named Čech as the best goalkeeper of his era, saying: "The best goalkeeper with his feet? Pepe Reina. In the air I'd say Neuer. With his hands: Casillas. The best overall I'd say is Čech."[181] Iker Casillas instead described him as, "One of the best goalkeepers I have ever seen" via his Twitter account.[5] Former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger and goalkeeper Jens Lehmann have hailed him as "one of the greatest of all time".[182] Journalist Alan Tyers of The Telegraph described Čech as the "Premier League's best-ever goalkeeper" in 2019.[6]

Čech currently holds two Guinness World Records for the most clean sheets in English Premier League history, and for winning the Premier League Golden Glove Award with two different clubs.[183] Nathan Baxter, Martin Dúbravka, Marek Rodák and João Virgínia are some of the goalkeepers who have described him as their idol.[184][185][186][187] In 2011, Čech was voted the third best goalkeeper of the first decade of 21st century by IFFHS. He also has the third highest number of clean sheets (391) since 2000s among all goalkeepers.[24][188] Former Premier League striker and record-goalscorer Alan Shearer named Čech in his Premier League's Team of the Decade in 2019.[189][190]

Personal life

Čech was born a triplet along with his sister Šárka and a brother named Michal in Plzeň, Czechoslovakia.[191] He has a weaker skull as a result of being a triplet.[192]

Čech married Martina Dolejšová (now Čechová) (b. 1982), also of Czech nationality, in June 2003.[193] They have a daughter Adéla (b. 23 January 2008)[193] and a son Damián (b. June 2009),[194]

He is a keen musician and plays the drums. He has a YouTube channel under his own name on which he posts video drum covers, including Incubus' "Anna Molly",[195] as well as songs by Coldplay and Foo Fighters. He has played with Roger Taylor of Queen.[196] In May 2019, he and Taylor released a charity single called That's Football.[197]

Along with his native language Czech, Čech also speaks English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.[198][199][200][201]

Career statistics



Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Other [lower-roman 1] Total
Blšany 1999–2000 Czech First League 201030
2000–01 Czech First League 25000250
Total 27010280
Sparta Prague 2001–02 Czech First League 27030120420
Total 27030120420
Rennes 2002–03 Ligue 1 3704000410
2003–04 Ligue 1 3303010370
Total 7007010780
Chelsea 2004–05 Premier League 350002011000480
2005–06 Premier League 34000007010420
2006–07 Premier League 20060208000360
2007–08 Premier League 26010309010400
2008–09 Premier League 350601012000540
2009–10 Premier League 34020006010430
2010–11 Premier League 38030009000500
2011–12 Premier League 340702013000560
2012–13 Premier League 360503015040630
2013–14 Premier League 340100010010460
2014–15 Premier League 7020403000160
Total 33303301701030804940
Arsenal 2015–16 Premier League 34010105010420
2016–17 Premier League 35020000000370
2017–18 Premier League 34000003010380
2018–19 Premier League 70202011000220
Total 11005030190201390
Career total 567049021013401007810
  1. Including FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.



Czech Republic




Czech Republic U21

  • UEFA European Under-21 Championship: 2002[225]


  • UEFA European Under-21 Championship Golden Player: 2002[226]
  • Best Goalkeeper of French League: 2003–04[227]
  • Czech First League Most clean Sheets: 2001–02[228]
  • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2004[229]
  • Premier League Golden Glove: 2004–05, 2009–10, 2013–14, 2015–16[205]
  • PFA Team of the Year: 2004–05 Premier League,[230] 2013–14 Premier League[231]
  • Czech Footballer of the Year: 2005,[232] 2008,[233] 2009,[234] 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016[233]
  • Golden Ball (Czech Republic): 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018[235]
  • IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper: 2005[236]
  • Best European Goalkeeper: 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012
  • UEFA Club Football Awards Best Goalkeeper: 2005, 2007, 2008[237]
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2005[237]
  • ESM Team of the Year: 2004–05, 2005–06[238]
  • Premier League Player of the Month: March 2007[205]
  • Chelsea Player of the Year: 2010–11[239]
  • FIFA FIFPro World XI 5th team: 2013[240]
  • NIHL 2 South Player of the Month: January 2020[241]


  • Honorary Silver Medal of Jan Masaryk: 2019[242][243]


  • Most Premier League Golden Glove awards: 4 (shared with Joe Hart)[244]
  • Most Premier League clean sheets: 202 clean sheets.[245]
  • Most Premier League clean sheets at one club: 162 with Chelsea.[246]
  • Most Premier League clean sheets in a season: 24 in 2004–05.[247]
  • First Premier League goalkeeper to reach 200 clean sheets.[248]
  • First Premier League goalkeeper to go 1000 minutes without conceding a goal.[246]
  • Fastest Premier League goalkeeper to reach 50 clean sheets: 82 appearances.[249][250]
  • Fastest Premier League goalkeeper to reach 100 clean sheets: 180 appearances.[251]
  • Only goalkeeper to have won the Premier League Golden Glove with different clubs.[246]
  • Most caps for Czech Republic national football team: 124 caps.[252]
  • Most Czech Footballer of the Year wins: 9 wins.[253]
  • Most Czech Republic Golden Ball wins: 11 wins.[254]
  • Most Champions League appearances by a Czech player: 111 appearances.[255]
  • Most Premier League appearances for Chelsea by a foreign player: 333 appearances.[256]
  • Most Premier League wins for Chelsea by a foreign player: 219 wins.[256]
  • Most appearances for Chelsea by a foreign player: 494 appearances.[257]
  • Most penalty saves for Chelsea by a foreign player: 8 penalty saves.[258]
  • Most starts for Chelsea in a season: 63 starts in 2012–13.[259]
  • Most major cup final appearances for Chelsea: 14 (shared with Frank Lampard).[259]
  • Most clean sheets for Chelsea: 227.[258]
  • Most clean sheets in a season for Chelsea: 28 clean sheets in 2004–05.[260]
  • Most consecutive clean sheets for Chelsea in all competitions: 7 in 2005–06 (shared record).[258]
  • Most consecutive home league clean sheets for Chelsea: 9 in 2009–10 - 2010–11 (shared record).[258]
  • Most consecutive home clean sheets for Chelsea in all competitions: 10 in 2009–10.[258]
  • Most consecutive league clean sheets for Chelsea: 10 in 2004–05.[258]
  • Most league clean sheets in a season for Chelsea: 24 in 2004–05.[258]
  • Most away league clean sheets in a season for Chelsea: 11 in 2004–05 & 2005–06.[258]
  • Most UEFA Best Club Goalkeeper Awards for a Premier League goalkeeper: 3 awards.
  • One of four goalkeepers to have made consecutive appearances in the ESM Team of the Year (shared with Angelo Peruzzi, Oliver Kahn, and Manuel Neuer).

See also

  • List of footballers with 100 or more caps


  1. This record stood until 2009, when it was broken by Edwin van der Sar.[23]


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