Chelsea vs Arsenal: Petr Cech on the UEFA Europa League final and his career
Written by: Tushaar Sachdeva
The shot-stopper is set to play the last game of his professional career tonight against his former side.
Premier League teams, Chelsea and Arsenal will end their 2018-19 season when they will face each other in the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday night, 29th May. One of the exciting factors of the showpiece will be Petr Cech, a legend for Chelsea who will be playing the final game of his career featuring for Arsenal. He signed for the Blues in 2004 and shifted base in 2015 when the then manager Jose Mourinho started favouring young Thibaut Courtois.
Since 2015, Petr has won three silverware with the Gunners which includes the FA Cup in 2017 and two Community Shields in 2015 and 2017.
Although days before the final, Petr had announced that post this match, he will be joining Chelsea against but now as their Sporting Director.
"I signed in January  and stayed in France until the end of the season. That was very important, because it meant I had six months to prepare. I didn't want to go straight in and find myself adapting to a new [style of] football, a new team, a new league. I had six months to watch every Chelsea game," Petr told to UEFA.com.
He continued, "I had a big task. Carlo Cudicini had been voted player of the season, and you think 'Wow, I'll have tough competition'. At the same time, when José Mourinho arrived everybody had a fresh start. I did everything I could so that he would choose me for the first game, which he did."
Cech won 13 major trophies with Chelsea and was one of the deciding factors for the Blues in their UEFA Champions League triumph in 2011-12 and UEFA Europa League triumph in 2012-13.
"Like a dream come true. I enjoyed the environment, when you are pushed to the limit, and it's really up to you how well you do. Then it's the satisfaction of having won the first title, the second title, and as we say in Czech, 'He who eats a lot wants to eat more.'
Experts and pundits alike have pinned their opinions whether Petr Cech should be given the much-earned farewell or young keeper Bernd Leno should start. Although Cech has been the X-factor for Arsenal in the Europa League throughout this season.
"One of the reasons I came to Arsenal was to try and win a European trophy for the club. My dream was to come here and for it to end the same way it did with Chelsea."
Out of the ten games he has played in, he has kept six clean sheets and conceded seven goals.
On the prospect of playing against the club he spent his most successful years at Cech quipped, "As soon as the quarter-final and the semi-final draw was made, you could see we were on opposite sides of the draw. Then I was thinking, 'OK, it's coming; it's coming!' It's fate and hopefully, the dream will come true in the end with the trophy. That will be the perfect ending."
Published: Wed May 29, 2019 03:21 PM IST