Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has announced he will retire at the end of the season.
The 36-year-old has lost his starting place to Bernd Leno at the Emirates Stadium this season and, after a 20-year playing career, has opted to quit.
In a statement on Twitter, he wrote: “This is my 20th season as a professional player and it has been 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 the 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.”
— Petr Cech (@PetrCech) January 15, 2019
Cech started his career at Chmel Blsany in his native Czech Republic and impressed sufficiently to earn a move to domestic giants Sparta Prague and then Rennes.
His form in Ligue 1 prompted Chelsea to offer him a trial which eventually became a transfer in February 2004, the player making the switch to England at the end of the 2003-04 season.
He swiftly established himself as Chelsea’s number one, and went on to win four Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge.
The only blemish on his Chelsea career came in October 2006 when a clash with Reading’s Stephen Hunt left him with a fractured skull and a three-month absence.
24 – @PetrCech kept 24 clean sheets for @ChelseaFC during the 2004-05 @premierleague campaign – the most any goalkeeper has kept in a single season in the competition. Safe. pic.twitter.com/XclpY1sG6i
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 15, 2019
He returned sporting his now trademark headguard – something he was worn throughout the remainder of his career.
With Thibaut Courtois taking over the number one shirt at Chelsea for the start of the 2015-16 season, Cech opted to move across London to join Arsenal for a reported fee of £10million.
He won the FA Cup under Arsene Wenger in 2017 but struggled to replicate the dominant form he showed at Chelsea and in winning a Czech-record 124 international caps.
For your consummate professionalism, for being the perfect role model, for the 50 clean sheets, for your honesty, your integrity and for your inspiring work with @AFC_Foundation, we want to say…
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 15, 2019
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