You’ll have to go a long way to find a goalkeeper with a more distinguished career than Petr Cech.
The Czech Republic’s most-capped player has lifted 14 major honours and represented his country at four international tournaments since debuting as a 17-year-old for Chmel Blsany back in 1999.
But where did it all begin for Petr?
“I started as a midfielder or a left winger,” he told Arsenal Player. “When I was probably eight and a half, we had a game where our goalkeeper didn’t come.
“Obviously someone had to go in goal. Because the coach had seen me in goal a few times in training, he put me in. I went in there for one game and the goalkeeping coach watched the game, and wanted me to be a goalkeeper.
“I played in the Under-16 European Championship and I didn’t have any contract at the time. Then suddenly a team came along and offered me a contract. When this opportunity came, I had to make the decision whether to go with my hometown and the team I’d played for ever since I was seven, or if I changed team.
“In the end, I went to the club which was in the top division, Sparta Prague. Obviously I had all the pressure of being at 18 or 19 years of age and then playing in the Champions League, for the top Czech team who were supposed to win every single game. It was a huge learning experience.
“When you reach the top of the top and you’re in that small group of top professionals, then you realise there’s not many people who really understand how hard it is to be there and what it takes.”
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