Hanging Up The Helmet
Petr Cech, the legendary 37-year-old Czech goalkeeper, said goodbye to football in a bitter way after being thrashed in the Europa League final against former club, Chelsea, on Wednesday night (4-1).
Chelsea lifted the European Cup, but the cameras also focused on capturing the image of Petr Cech, as always sporting his legendary helmet, which has protected him since October 2006, when Stephen Hunt, a Reading player, cost the Czech showstopper a skull fracture.
One of the most charismatic and best goalkeepers in recent years in European football, also known for the 'covers' he likes to upload to YouTube playing the drums, the goalie will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his generation. Even after the 4-1 defeat, Cech demonstrated that he could keep playing if he wanted to, with two inmense saves that kept Arsenal from being embarrassed any further, showing he still has some years left in him.
He made great saves against Chelsea, the team with which he became a legend, but wasn't able to prevent the magic that Giroud and Hazard created in Baku. Sadly, the Gunners extend, just like that, their run of five continental finals loses consecutively.
Petr Chech signed two major interventions in the first half, when the score was still open, keeping Arsenal's dreams alive, showing why he is one of the great goalkeepers in Premier League history.
With Arsenal, during the current edition of Europa League, he completed eleven games, conceded eleven goals and kept a clean sheet on six occasions. Moreover, Czech's data corroborates his privileged place in English football: Cech is the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets in Premier League history, with a total of 202.
Most of them, defending Chelsea's shirt, his executioner in Baku, the team whose goal he defended in eleven illustrious years and 494 games. With the 'Blues,' he was unbeaten for 1025 minutes straight, between 2005 and 2006 and only needed 180 matches to reach 100 games without conceding a goal, a record for English domestic competition history.
Winner of four Premier Leagues, one Champions League, five FA Cups, one Community Shield, three League Cups and one Europa League, the Pilsen's 'giant', standing at 196 centimeters, he will unfortunately never wear the goalkeeper gloves again. Nor his legendary helmet.
Clearly, the end of an era.