Unai Emery has paid tribute to Petr Cech following the Arsenal goalkeeper’s announcement he will retire at the end of the season and is keen for his career to be brought to a close in a “good moment”.
Cech on Tuesday revealed his decision to call time on his playing career at the culmination of the current campaign.
The former Czech Republic international enjoyed incredible success at Chelsea but has won just one FA Cup since joining Arsenal in 2015.
Emery, though, has been extremely impressed with the 36-year-old since he took over from Arsene Wenger in May and, speaking about him at a media conference, said: “First, he is a very big person. A person I’ve only known for six months, a person who is closer to more people [other] than me.
“As a player he was great, with a lot of titles in his career. The respect to him is very big for me and for all the football world.
“His decision is a very, very personal decision. I respect him. He said to us [he planned to retire] at the beginning of the week. When he did we were surprised but respectful. He was thinking with his family about this decision.
“All we can say to him – every player in the team – is we want to find a good moment with you at the end of your career.”
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 15, 2019
Asked whether Arsenal could give Cech a coaching role, Emery replied: “Now it’s very difficult to speak about that. I want to enjoy with him the last four months. To [work] together in a big way, finding our objectives with him.”
Arsenal welcome Chelsea to Emirates Stadium on Saturday, with Emery saying of the London derby: “[Chelsea are] a very organised team with very important players.
“[It will be] difficult but I believe in our spirit, in our quality, in our organisation when we are playing at home with our support. It’s very special, each match in the Emirates. A tough match but if we play with our big performance, organisation, we can win. It’s difficult. It’s a test.
“His [Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri] team, they have one very good idea and very good personality, like he played with Napoli.
“Now when you watch Chelsea’s matches they are playing well and with this identity. For us also it’s a good test for how we can impose against one team.
“Usually they imposed each match against the opposition. They won against Manchester City. This test for us is the same. If we can impose our idea, our gameplan against them, it’s the best test for us.”
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