The 33-year-old is widely regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers in the world but admits his life and career might have been very different but for a freak accident
Arsenal new boy Petr Cech has revealed he never thought about becoming a goalkeeper until he broke his leg at the age of 10 – while playing as a winger.
Cech, who completed an £11 million move from Chelsea to the Gunners this summer, is widely regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers in the world after a decade at Stamford Bridge that saw him win four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and a Champions League crown.
But now the 33-year-old has revealed his life and career might have been very different had he not suffered a freak accident playing outfield as a youngster.
“I never thought of being a goalkeeper,” Cech told Arsenal Magazine. “I was an ice hockey goalkeeper and when I started playing football, I was a midfielder or a left winger.
“Occasionally at the end of training sessions, when you had a free game with no ‘keeper, where the deepest player acted as a goalkeeper, sometimes I went in goal because I wanted to see the difference between a big goal and a small ice hockey goal.
“My coach saw me a few times and one day, our goalkeeper didn’t come for a game. We had no ‘keeper and somebody had to play there, but nobody really wanted to. He pointed to me and said ‘I’ve seen you a few times in goal and you’ve been doing quite well. You should try it.
“I said I would do it for one match and we ended up having a very good game. The next day, when I came for the training session, the goalkeeping coach took me and said that I should stay with him.
“But then my coach didn’t want to listen to that. For about a year, I was playing outfield or in goal depending on the opponents. Then when I was about 10 I broke my leg quite badly and the recovery took time. I couldn’t run and I had pain for quite a long time.
“Being in goal means you can sit, you can lie, you can catch balls and you can still work and train. That made the biggest difference in my life because that moment defined that I stayed in goal.”