Petr Cech

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Petr Cech earns win with 2 penalty saves in hockey debut

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Former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper joined English fourth-division hockey team Guildford Phoenix four days ago and made his debut on Sunday.

He did not disappoint.

The 37-year-old saved two penalties in the shootout, earning Man of the Match honors.

Cech is reportedly a fan of the Guilford Flames, the first-division side who use the Phoenix as their developmental side. He was signed to be the team’s third-choice goalkeeper, just a chance for him to get in on the action before his body gives way for good, but he was given a chance to play right away. He wore number 39, a nod to famous Czech goaltender Dominik Hasek. His custom helmet was adorned with Arsenal and Chelsea colors. Regulation finished level at 2-2 before Cech’s shootout heroics.

“I wanted to win, that was the main thing, and I’m glad we did,” Cech said after the match. “I was surprised that I wasn’t more nervous. I didn’t know what to expect so it was nice how quickly my body switched into matchday mode.”

37-year-old Petr Cech to make pro hockey debut this weekend

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Petr Cech, the longtime soccer goalkeeper for Chelsea and (for a briefer period) Arsenal, will make his professional ice hockey debut on Sunday after signing with National Ice Hockey League (United Kingdom) fourth-division side Guildford Phoenix.

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We know what you’re thinking… Yes, really. No, it’s not a joke.

The 37-year-old former Czech international, who is currently the technical and performance advisor at Chelsea, recently trained with another team, the Guildford Flames, after a two-decade layoff as one of the best soccer goalkeepers of his generation. Naturally, he’ll play goaltender when the Phoenix take on the Swindon Wildcats. Cech, in his own words, on his mid-life career change:

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to play with the Phoenix to get match experience. I hope I can help this young team to achieve their goals for the season and try to win as many games as possible when I have the chance to play.

“After 20 years of professional football, this is going to be a wonderful experience for me to play the game I loved to watch and play as a kid.”

Phoenix head coach Milos Melicherik said, “He has improved a lot since I first saw him on the ice and I am excited to see him play.”

Europa League Final preview: Arsenal v. Chelsea

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It’s Arsenal last chance at qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, and perhaps Maurizio Sarri‘s final opportunity to win a piece of silverware at Chelsea.

And, oh yeah, it’s a London Derby pitting rivals against each other in a controversial setting for a European final.

Chelsea and Arsenal meet Wednesday for the right to lift the UEFA Cup, squaring off in Baku, Azerbaijan at 3 p.m. ET.

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Arsenal will be without Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who elected to skip the match given the poor relations between Azerbaijan and his native Armenia. Chelsea may be missing N'Golo Kante, though the Blues have not ruled out the influential French midfielder.

The weight of the game is heavier for Arsenal, who will have to sell summer recruits on a year free of the Champions League if it fails to win in Baku.

We don’t know whether Unai Emery will tab Petr Cech as his starting goalkeeper before the Arsenal man leaves for the sporting director role at Chelsea.

Cech is still focused on the Gunners, and says not to be worried about Arsenal rising to the occasion.

“I feel that when Arsenal need to win, we win,” he said. “You go to Athens in the last Champions League group game needing to win 2-0 and you win 3-0. No matter where, we win, because that fire was right behind us as we had to really win. The pressure was what was pushing us.”

Both Sarri and Eden Hazard could be appearing at their final match for Chelsea, and the playmaking Real Madrid target feels this is a good chance to say goodbye from a top position.

“When you play for Chelsea at the start of the season, people think about which trophy we can have at the end of May, so this one is the important one. We lost the League Cup final, so at the end of the season this is the trophy we can go for. “I just want to win the trophy, that is it. It does not matter if I score or I do not score. If it is my last game, I hope to bring the trophy. … Would it be the perfect farewell? Yes.”

It’s the second Europa League Final for both teams, with Arsenal losing to Galatasaray in penalty kicks (2000) and Chelsea beating Benfica in 2013.

Sky: Chelsea set to appoint Cech as sporting director

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Petr Cech is staying in London.

The longtime Chelsea goalkeeper is set to return to the club as sporting director following Arsenal’s Europa League Final against… well… Chelsea.

Cech, 37, is calling time on his legendary playing career and will not simply be drumming into the sunset.

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He’ll return to a club with which he earned 15 trophies including two Champions Leagues. The three-time Best European Goalkeeper also won three trophies with Arsenal.

It would be pretty surprising if Unai Emery selected him over Bernd Leno for the final in Azerbaijan, but Cech is certainly respected worldwide and will be the type of personality to bring some stability to Chelsea.

Will he have to hire a manager, though?

Petr Cech to retire at end of season

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Legendary goalkeeper Petr Cech has announced he will retire at the end of the 2018-19 season.

The current Arsenal stopper, 36, is one of the most successful goalkeepers in Premier League history as he has won trophies at Arsenal and Chelsea during his 15-year career in England’s top-flight.

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Cech has the most clean sheets in PL history, holds the record for the must shutouts in a single season (24 in 2004-05) and made 494 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions.

He also won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, a UEFA Champions League trophy, a Europa League title and two Community Shields during his 11-year stay at Chelsea. Cech has also won an FA Cup and Community Shield during his four seasons at Arsenal.

Cech is the only goalkeeper in Premier League history to win the PL’s Golden Glove with two different clubs, while he was also the quickest to reach 100 clean sheets (180 games). He is also the most capped player for the Czech Republic national team with 124 outings, a huge chunk of them as captain.

He announced Tuesday that he will call time on his career at the end of the current campaign and posted the following statement.

His status as a legend of the game is secured, even if he has lost his place as a regular starter for Arsenal this season following Bernd Leno‘s arrival in the summer.

Cech arrived at Chelsea in 2004 from French side Rennes and was an immediate star for Jose Mourinho’s all-conquering Chelsea.

He has also had some tough times to get through in England, as he fractured his skull in a game against Reading in 2006 and has worn a protective helmet ever since.

Cech also lost his place at Chelsea to Thibaut Courtois in 2014 and then moved to Arsenal in the summer of 2015, even though it became clear he would have rather seen his playing days out at Stamford Bridge.

In his spare time he plays the drums, while he can also speak Czech, English, Spanish, French and German.

It is safe to say Cech is one of the greatest goalkeepers the world has ever seen and we will see him stay in the game in some capacity for many years to come.