There are certainly signs that Thibaut Courtois could go on to become Chelsea’s all-time greatest goalkeeper. For now, at least, that title has to belong to Petr Cech. Although the former Czech Republic international is now first choice at Arsenal, his name will always bring back fond memories in the hearts of Chelsea fans.
During his tenure with the Blues between 2004 and 2011, Cech went on to play 494 times for the club in all competitions and won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Community Shields, one Champions League and one Europa League.
After usurping Carlo Cudicini as first-choice goalkeeper for Chelsea during Jose Mourinho’s first spell with the club in 2004, Cech went on to break many records and remain number one keeper for the English giants for the next decade, and the club won back-to-back Premier League titles during his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge. Many would rate him as being the greatest goalkeeper in the Premier League during the 2000s, along with Manchester United’s Edwin Van Der Sar.
One of the most memorable spells of Cech’s time with Chelsea came in 2012 when he played a crucial role in helping the team win the Champions League. His saves against Barcelona and then Bayern Munich during the penalty shootout of the final were vital in helping the team become champions of Europe that year.
Record breaker, role model
In 2005, Cech broke the record held by Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel of 694 minutes without conceding and went on to establish a new record of 1025 minutes.
What makes Cech even more admirable is the fact that he acted maturely and with true professionalism when he was replaced as first-choice keeper of Chelsea when Thibaut Courtois was brought into the fold during the summer of 2014. Despite being relegated to the bench, Cech accepted the outcome and continued to give his best whenever called upon. The goalkeeper is certainly one of the few true role models both on and off the football field.
Header image by John Dobson (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons