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Monday 18 February 2019

Tributes pour in for keeper Cech after his decision to retire at the end of the season

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech

Petr Cech will bring the curtain down on his glittering career at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper announced on Twitter that the current campaign will be his last.

He wrote: "This is my 20th season as a professional player and it is 20 years since I signed my first professional contract, so it feels like the right time to announce that I will retire at the end of this season.

"Having played 15 years in the Premier League and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve.

"I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy this season, then I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch."

Cech joined Arsenal in 2015 and has made 129 appearances for the Gunners, winning the Community Shield twice.

But it is his 11 trophy-laden years with Chelsea which he will be best remembered for as he established himself as one of the Premier League's finest goalkeepers.

Signed from Rennes by Claudio Ranieri in 2004, Cech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and three League Cups with the Blues.

It was a career all the more remarkable given the serious head injury Cech suffered in 2006 following a collision with Reading's Stephen Hunt.

Hunt's knee crashed into Cech's head leaving him with a fractured skull, but he returned to action four months later wearing what became his trademark protective headgear. Cech became the first keeper to keep 200 Premier League clean sheets in Arsenal's 3-0 win over Watford last season, during which he saved a penalty from Troy Deeney.

He is also the Czech Republic's most capped player, making 124 appearances.

Cech may no longer be first choice at Arsenal with Bernd Leno preferred for the majority of this season so far, but the club were quick to pay their own tribute.

Arsenal tweeted: "For your consummate professionalism, for being the perfect role model, for the 50 clean sheets, for your honesty, your integrity and for your inspiring work with @AFC_Foundation, we want to say... Thank you, @PetrCech!"

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