Cech to bring down the curtain on glittering career at end of the season

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Petr Cech will bring the curtain down on his glittering career at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper announced on Twitter that the current campaign will be his last.

He wrote: “This is my 20th season as a professional player and it is 20 years since I signed my first professional contract, so it feels like the right time to announce that I will retire at the end of this season.

“Having played 15 years in the Premier League and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve.

“I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy this season, then I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch.”

Cech joined Arsenal in 2015 and has made 129 appearances for the Gunners, winning the Community Shield twice.

But it is his 11 trophy-laden years with Chelsea which he will be best remembered for as he established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest goalkeepers.

Signed from Rennes by Claudio Ranieri in 2004, Cech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and three League Cups with the Blues.

It was a career all the more remarkable given the serious head injury Cech suffered in 2006 following a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt.

Hunt’s knee crashed into Cech’s head leaving him with a fractured skull, but he returned to action four months later wearing what became his trademark protective headgear.

Cech became the first keeper to keep 200 Premier League clean sheets in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Watford last season, during which he saved a penalty from Troy Deeney.

He is also the Czech Republic’s most capped player, making 124 appearances.

Cech may no longer be first choice at Arsenal, with Bernd Leno preferred for the majority of this season so far, but the club were quick to pay their own tribute.

“Petr has been an extraordinary player during his 15 years in the Premier League and an exemplary professional on and off the pitch,” the club said in a statement.

Chelsea said he would “be remembered not just as our best-ever goalie but also as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time”.

The 36-year-old’s former Blues boss Jose Mourinho paid tribute to Cech for an “amazing career”.

He told Sky Sports News: “I am honoured to have been the manager that, at such an early age, gave Petr a top Premier League number one shirt.

“After that day it is all about him. All about his numbers, his performances, his clean sheets, his titles and his professionalism. It’s a big loss for football but history can’t be deleted. Many congratulations on such an amazing career.”

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