Michael Ballack has backed “big leader” Petr Cech to take up a coaching position after he retires at the end of the season.
The 36-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper announced last week he will bring an end to his playing career when this campaign concludes.
11 years at Chelsea, winning the Premier League and FA Cup four times each, the EFL Cup three times and also triumphing in the Champions League and Europa League, before moving across London to Arsenal in 2015.
Ballack was also part of Chelsea’s Premier League-winning side in 2009-10 and believes his former team-mate, able to communicate in four languages, has the makings of a future manager.
“He’s a very nice guy and comfortable team-mate. He speaks a lot of languages, so Petr had a good connection to a lot of players,” Ballack told Omnisport. “He was a very important person for the atmosphere in the dressing room. He had a great personality and was a big leader with a natural authority.
“The team accepted him, because of his appearance and his performances. With his retirement, football is losing a big personality. I’m sure that he will be staying in football, because he’s always thinking a lot about this sport. Petr will influence football with his big influence.”
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 15, 2019
Cech has worn protective headgear for the past 13 years following a head injury sustained in a clash with Reading’s Stephen Hunt during his time at Chelsea.
The former Czech Republic international spent three months on the sidelines but made a full recovery, which Ballack says is another example of why he is so highly respected.
“I remember that he had two brutal injuries. One was during a game, when he got hit by a knee on his head,” Ballack said. “The result was a very heavy head injury.
“Cech is still playing with a head protection and has a plate in his head. It was unbelievable how he dealt with this mentally.
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) January 15, 2019
“Just after that he had a brutal injury in training, when he got studs in his face. He didn’t hold back in this situation without any fear.
“He got big cuts in his lower lip. With a surgery this was covered pretty well. For me as a team-mate it was brutal to see how a goalkeeper is suffering two heavy injuries in a very short period.
“He dealt with this so well mentally. It’s impressive what you can achieve with mentality and positivity.”
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