David De Gea paid his respects to Petr Cech after the Arsenal star announced this would be his final season as a professional footballer.
The Czech keeper, 36, has enjoyed a brilliant career in the English game since signing for Chelsea under Jose Mourinho back in 2004 – winning four Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge prior to a £10million move to the Gunners in June 2015.
But having lost out to new signing Bernd Leno for the No.1 spot at The Emirates, Cech has decided it is time to hang up his boots.
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.”
Cech continued: “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.”
Tributes to the retiring Cech have come in from a variety of former teammates, managers and pundits, who were all keen to highlight the incredible career enjoyed by the former Rennes and Sparta Prague star.
Former Chelsea man Thibaut Courtois thanked Cech for “helping” him adjust to life at Chelsea, but arguably the classiest tribute came from Manchester United No 1 De Gea, who tweeted: “I keep with great affection Petr Cech’s shirt. Without doubt one of the best keepers in the Premier League. We’ll miss you!”
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) January 15, 2019
The retirement of Cech will leave Arsenal looking for a new goalkeeper to provide cover and competition for Leno, though they may have to do so without director of football Sven Mislintat, who appears to be heading for the exit door after just 13 months at the club.
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