Petr Cech says representing the Czech Republic realised his “ultimate childhood dream”.
The 34-year-old announced his international retirement on Friday after a stellar career spanning 14 years, during which he became his country’s all-time record appearance holder.
Cech won 124 caps for the Czech Republic but feels now is the right time to focus on playing “at the highest level for as long as I can”.
“I’ve been playing in the national team for 14 years,” he told Arsenal Player. “We always qualified for the big tournaments.
"When I was a kid, my ultimate dream was to play for the national team at least once"
“I’ve had so many club games to play year-by-year too, and I think I’ve reached the point where I believe that if I want to continue doing things to 100 per cent every day, like I’ve always done, then I will probably need more time to rest and recover.
“This is a purely football-based decision. If I want to prolong my career and play at the highest level for as long as I can, then I will probably need to find the balance so that I can continue to do so.
“I’m now 34 and the next [international] tournament is in two years which, in football, is a very long time. The last thing I wanted to do was start a campaign and then say ‘I don’t think it’s right for me to continue’ halfway through it.
“I’ve made fantastic memories and I will keep them. But as I said, you cannot stop time and sometimes you need to make decisions looking to the future. I believe it is the right move.
“When I was a kid, my ultimate dream was to play for the national team at least once,” he added. “Having done it so many times makes me really proud.
“You look back at the Czech and Czechoslovakian history and you see so many great names and players. I managed to play more games than them, which shows the consistency and quality of my game.”
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