‘Fantastic career’: Football world reacts to Petr Cech's announcement of imminent retirement
Cech announced his intention to retire at the end of the season via a post on social media.
"This is my 20th season as a professional player and it has been 20 years since I signed my first professional contract," he wrote.
"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."
His announcement promoted a host of replies from significant names within the game, who lined up to pay tribute to the retiring Czech star.
Former England legend and broadcaster Gary Lineker called Cech: "A wonderful goalkeeper, professional and gentleman who has been an absolute credit to our game."
Congratulations on a truly outstanding career to @PetrCech. A wonderful goalkeeper, professional and gentleman who has been an absolute credit to our game. Wish him all the very best in his retirement at the end of the season. 👏👏👏 https://t.co/E4NLRPew8R— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 15, 2019
Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson, who guarded the net at the opposite end of the pitch to Cech on many occasions, wished his former rival well.
"Rivalries aside, all the best for your retirement & congrats on what you've achieved & done for the game.
"Trust me, I can highly recommend retirement."
And another former England stopper, Ben Foster, said Cech was "One of my all time favourites."
One of my all time favourites. You’ll be missed Petr 👏👏— Ben Foster (@BenFoster) January 15, 2019
Cech's longtime teammate at Chelsea and fellow goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini joked that his former colleague's retirement will see him kicked out of the Chelsea legends team, saying: "You could have waited a few more years to retire, to allow me to play a few more games with the Chelsea legends!
"I'm looking forward to fight for the #1 jersey... again.
"Congratulations for an immense career and good luck for what comes next."
PC1 @PetrCech you could have waited few more years to retire😡,to allow me the chance to play few more games with the Chelsea legends!!I’m looking forward to fight for the #1 jersey...again😂👍🏻Congratulations for an immense career and good luck for what comes next. 🙌🏻💙 #202cs #1 pic.twitter.com/yJxEjkVeW3— Carlo Cudicini (@Capitancarloc) January 15, 2019
And Spanish goalkeeping great Iker Casillas took to Twitter to pay tribute, hailing Cech as "One of the best goalkeepers I have ever seen."
All my respects for @PetrCech.🙌 One of the best goalkeepers I have ever seen. Good luck for the future.— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) January 15, 2019
Cech joined Chelsea in July 2004 from French side Rennes and spent 11 hugely successful years with the Blues, winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Champions League and one UEFA Europa League.
Cech then moved across London to Arsenal, where he added another FA Cup and two Community Shields to his bulging trophy cabinet.
Both of Cech's Premier League clubs also posted on Twitter to honor the long-serving stopper, with Chelsea listing his considerable list of trophies, calling him "A true Chelsea legend."
🏆 4 x Premier League🏆 4 x FA Cup🏆 3 x League Cup🏆 1 x Europa League🏆 1 x Champions League@PetrCech, a true Chelsea legend. 👏— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 15, 2019
And they were joined by Arsenal, who 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!"