Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Petr Čech Chelsea goalkeeper

Born in Plzeň, Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic, Čech started playing football at age seven in his native town. As a young boy, he played for FC Viktoria Plzeň and he first started as a striker due to him being tall at an early age. Čech started as a goal keeper in training, goalkeeper coaches took note of his abilities. By age 14, Čech grew from 180 cm to 196 cm. This drew him attention, not because of his height, but his talent as a goalkeeper. Čech was transferred to FK Chmel Blšany and made his debut for the team on 30 October 1999. Čech became a regular for Blšany and attracted lots of attention. Čech then moved to Sparta Prague at the age of 19.
Čech did not win the league title in the spring of 2002 with Sparta Prague, but he did experience success elsewhere. At the under-21 European Championships in June, Čech led the Czechs to the final. Here, the Plzeň native excelled. He let in only one of the penalty kicks as his team won the tournament. The hero of the final match of the tournament could not escape the attention of the scouts of foreign clubs. Interest from England (e.g. Arsenal) was spoken about a lot, however, the deal fell through based on the issue of the working permit. In July 2002 Čech moved to French club Stade Rennes.
In his two seasons in France, Čech became accustomed to the pressure exerted on foreign players, especially goalkeepers. He performed admirably in a number of difficult matches. During his first season in the team, Rennes were stuck at the bottom of the table and escaped relegation in the last round with a win over Montpellier.

Čech had a trial with Chelsea in 2003. It was Claudio Ranieri, then manager of Chelsea, who decided that Čech was his choice as understudy to Carlo Cudicini.[9] After the original bid was rejected,[10] Rennes accepted a second in February. Čech agreed a summer move to Chelsea for £7 million, signing a five-year contract, to commence in July 2004.[11] This transfer meant that he had cost more than every other Chelsea goalkeeper in history put together. Čech’s transfer from Rennes was one of those about which the Stevens inquiry report in June 2007 expressed concerns because of the lack of co-operation from agents Pini Zahavi and Barry SilkmanSoon after Carlo Cudicini arrived at Chelsea, from Castel di Sangro Calcio, he was established as Chelsea's first choice. However, Cudicini suffered a pre-season elbow injury that allowed Mourinho to promote Čech into the starting spot. And since then, Čech has kept starting spot from his first new season. He kept a clean sheet in his Premier League debut in a 1–0 victory over Manchester United.
On 5 March 2005, Čech set a new Premier League record of 1,025 minutes without letting in a goal. This record has since been broken by Manchester United's Edwin van der Sar. He finally conceded to Leon McKenzie of Norwich City, after keeping a clean sheet in the league since 12 December 2004 when Thierry Henry scored for Arsenal.[13] Čech was given a special award by the Premier League for the new record, and he was also awarded the Golden Gloves at the end of the 2004–05 season for keeping a record 25 clean sheets. Chelsea retained the Premier League title in 2005—06, with Čech playing in all but two games in the League. The team conceded only 15 goals in the entire League season, also a record.
Čech made his comeback against Liverpool on 20 January 2007, which they eventually lost 2–0, wearing a rugby style headguard, which he continued to wear in every game. The headguard was made by Canterbury of New Zealand, a company that specializes in protective rugby gear, and includes extra plastic polymer foam protection to cover the areas of his skull weakened by the collision. Čech’s use of the scrum cap caused initial friction with Chelsea’s apparel manufacturer Adidas, which were not pleased by a Chelsea player apparently advertising for another company, but the controversy quickly blew over when the competitor's logo was removed. Adidas then went on to develop a scrum cap of their own which carries the '3 stripes' logo and is designed specifically for Čech.
Since the injury, Čech has continued to wear the scrum cap owing to the weaker than normal bone structure in his skull.
Although Chelsea lost Čech's comeback match 2–0, he then went approximately 810 minutes of Premier League play without conceding a goal. On 11 April 2007, Čech was awarded the FA Premier League Player of the Month award for the first time in his career in recognition of the eight successive league clean sheets he had kept. He also was the first goalkeeper to receive the award since Tim Flowers in 2000.[29] This run was ended during a 4–1 Chelsea victory over West Ham United on 18 April 2007 when Carlos Tévez scored against him.
Čech also kept a clean sheet for Chelsea in the 2007 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. He shared with United’s Edwin van der Sar the honour of being the first goalkeepers to keep a clean sheet over 90 minutes in a competitive fixture, but became the first goalkeeper to end a competitive game unbeaten, at the new Wembley Stadium, as Chelsea beat United 1–0 to win the FA Cup.

Čech started off the 2008–09 season in stunning form, with Chelsea conceding only seven goals in 17 games, keeping 11 clean sheets; ten of which with Čech in goal. In November 2008, Chelsea beat Sunderland 5–0 at Stamford Bridge, a result that gave Čech a century of Chelsea clean sheets.[39] Čech kept a clean sheet in a 1–0 victory over Juventus in the Champions League on his 200th appearance for the club, and he also starred in a crucial 1–0 victory away at Villa Park against Aston Villa, making good saves from Gabriel Agbonlahor and Gareth Barry to second Chelsea third in the Premier League. The following week, Čech helped Chelsea go second in the table after his side beat Wigan at Stamford Bridge 2–1, with Čech saving from Paul Scharner in the first half. Successive clean sheets by Čech in Chelsea's wins against Portsmouth and Coventry have seen his side consolidate their position in the Premier League whilst progressing into the FA Cup semi-finals. Čech also made crucial saves from Dirk Kuyt and Xabi Alonso as Chelsea beat Liverpool 3–1 at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-finals.
In a crucial Premier League game in April 2009, with Chelsea seemingly cruising against Bolton Wanderers 4–0, manager Guus Hiddink took off both Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard only for Bolton to score three late goals which questioned the Chelsea defence, and in particular Čech. However Čech responded when he saved a penalty from Mark Noble in Chelsea's 1–0 win at the Boleyn Ground against West Ham. He also kept a clean sheet in the next game against Barcelona during the Champions League semifinal first leg match. Following a 3–2 win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Čech and Chelsea finished the season with the joint-tightest defence in the Premier League along with Manchester United; conceding just 24 goals over the course of the season.[40] Despite conceding the fastest goal in FA Cup Final history, Čech helped Chelsea's 2009 FA Cup Final triumph over Everton. Chelsea won 2–1, earning the Czech his seventh trophy at the club.
Former coach Luiz Felipe Scolari accused Čech, Michael Ballack and Drogba of causing his sacking, saying that they "did not accept my training methods or my demands". Scolari also claimed that it stemmed from a row between him and the Czech goalkeeper over the choice of goalkeeper coach. The latter denied the claims saying that he was "disappointed with [Scolari] because never in my life have I had a personal goalkeeping coach.
Čech began his career in the U16s, working his way up each age group level before making his senior debut in February 2002. He first came to prominence as a twenty-year-old at the 2002 U-21 European Championships when his penalty shoot-out heroics in the final against France earned the Czech Republic their first title at youth level.[49] He was part of the Czech Euro 2004 team. Some stunning saves helped his team progress as far as the semi-finals, where they lost to eventual winners Greece on the golden goal rule. He was named in the all-star team as best goalkeeper at the tournament.
The Czech Republic qualified for the 2006 World Cup, held in Germany, and were placed in Group E, alongside Ghana, Italy and the United States. The Czech Republic was placed third by the end of the group stages, and with one win against the United States, winning by 3–0, and two losses against Ghana and Italy, the score 2–0 in both games, the Czech Republic did not advance to the second round.
On 17 October 2007, Čech was captain of the Czech Republic team for their Euro 2008 Group D qualifier against Germany. He kept a clean sheet and the Czechs defeated Germany 3–0 away to book their place for the finals in Austria and Switzerland. In the last group game of the final tournament, Čech was beaten three times in the final 15 minutes as Turkey overcame a two-goal deficit to knock the Czechs out. Čech had a cross slip through his hands, allowing Nihat to score the second (and equalizing) goal.
After the blunder against Turkey, he took full responsibility for his team's exit from the UEFA Euro 2008 and actually considered retiring but then he was talked out of it and he stated that he wants to keep representing the Czech Republic "for many years to come" and also stated that he wants to repay his mistake and confidence that all the Czech Republic's players have in him.

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