Petr Cech retires: Best XI to have played with the Czech goalkeeper - Only 2 Arsenal players make the list

Petr Cech will hang his boots after the UEFA Europa League final between Arsenal and Chelsea to be held next week in Baku
Petr Cech will hang his boots after the UEFA Europa League final between Arsenal and Chelsea to be held next week in Baku

One of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the game is set to bring the curtains down on his illustrious and trophy-laden career when Arsenal take on Chelsea in the final of the UEFA Europa League to be held in Baku on May 29.

It is rather fitting that the Czech legend will finish his career against Chelsea, a side where he immortalized himself and won every major possible honor.

When Cech retires next week, he will leave as the first player to keep 200 clean sheets in the Premier League as well as the keeper with the most number of clean sheets in a single Premier League season (24).

Petr Cech will end his career with 780 club appearances (with 1 more to be added after the final) and 127 international appearances. The Czech legend will leave the pitch with a trophy laden cabinet that has seen him winning 4 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 2 Community Sheilds, 1 Europa League (2 if Arsenal win the Europa), 1 U21 European Championship and 1 UEFA Champions League.

Here is a list of the best XI to have played with Petr Cech


Full backs

Branislav Ivanovic

Ivanovic
Ivanovic

There is little argument that Serbian is one of the greatest right back in the history of Chelsea. Branislav Ivanovic joined the Blues in 2008 from Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow. The versatility of the Serbian saw him being played in the heart of the defence when needed while also being used as a conventional right back.

Ivanovic and Cech spent 6 seasons together before the Cech left for Arsenal. Together they won 2 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, 1 League Cup, 1 Community Shield, 1 Europa League, and 1 Champions League.


Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole

One of the greatest ever left back in history of the Premier League era, Ashley Cole joined the Chelsea revolution in 2006 from Arsenal. The left back, along with John Terry, Brainslav Ivanovic and Petr Cech, formed one of the greatest defensive units ever in the Premier League.

Cole and Cech spent 8 years together in Stamford Bridge before the left back moved to AS Roma in 2014. The duo won a Premier League, 4 FA Cups, League Cup, Community Sheild, Europa League and Champions League.

Central defenders

John Terry

John Terry, Chelsea legend
John Terry, Chelsea legend

Arguably the greatest player ever to represent the Blues, John Terry is a Chelsea Academy product. The central defender started his career with the Blues in 1998 and enjoyed 19 years at the club before joining Aston Villa in 2017.

The heart of the defence that helped Cech achieve most of his clean sheets while at Chelsea, Terry and Cech spent the whole of 11 seasons together till the Czech left for Arsenal. Both the players were part of the incredible team under Jose Mourinho and won 4 Premier League, 5 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 2 Community Shields, Europa League and Champions League.


Laurent Koscielny

Arsenal's Koscielny
Arsenal's Koscielny

The only non-Chelsea defender in the list, Laurent Koscielny was the captain of the Arsenal side when Petr Cech joined the Gunners in 2015. Upon arrival, Cech became the first choice keeper for Arsenal before being relegated to playing second fiddle to Bernd Leno in this season.

Although a ligament injury ruled the Frenchman out of action for a long time, both the players have now been teammates for 4 years winning an FA Cup and 2 Community Sheilds together.

Midfielders

Claude Makelele

Makelele is currently managing Eupen in Belgium
Makelele is currently managing Eupen in Belgium

One of the greatest players ever in his position, the signing of Claude Makelele proved to be the turning point for Chelsea. The Frenchman's signing was hailed by then manager Claudio Ranieri, who said that the defensive midfielder would be the battery of the team.

The signing of Claude Makelele from Real Madrid in 2003 was equally criticized by the Los Blancos legend Zidane who famously quoted "Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine".

The Frenchman revolutionized the defensive midfielder position in England and spend 5 seasons in England with 4 of them coming with Petr Cech. The duo won 2 Premier League, 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups, and 1 Community Sheild together.


Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil had an underwhelming season this time around
Mesut Ozil had an underwhelming season this time around

The only Arsenal player in the midfield, Ozil is a player whose eye for a pass is even better than Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Mesut joined Arsenal in 2013, 2 years prior to the arrival of Petr Cech.

The German is one of the present teammates of the great Czech goalkeeper and has won 1 FA Cup and 2 Community Shields together.


Frank Lampard

Lampard serves as the Derby County coach
Lampard serves as the Derby County coach

The greatest goalscoring midfielder in the history of English football, Frank Lampard joined Chelsea just 3 years prior to the arrival of Petr Cech. Lampard was the midfield attacking threat of the Chelsea side during his time and scored an impressive 147 goals from the midfield in the Premier League during his time with Chelsea.

The Derby County manager spent 10 seasons with Petr Cech at the Stamford Bridge winning 3 Premier Leagues, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, 2 Community Sheilds, 1 Europa League and the Champions League before moving to New York City (loaned out to Manchester City) in 2014.

Forwards

Pavel Nedved

The greatest Czech player of his generation and one of the best ever players to play for the national side
The greatest Czech player of his generation and one of the best ever players to play for the national side

The only Czech Republic international in the list, Pavel Nedved played with Cech during his tail end of his international career. The former Juventus man was the captain of the Czech side that reached the semi-finals of the 2004 European Championship.

Petr Cech started his international career in 2002 and spent only four seasons with the Czech legend but failed to win any accolades during their time.


Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard has been in scintilating form for the Blues this season, almost single-handedly guiding Chelsea into the Top 4
Eden Hazard has been in scintilating form for the Blues this season, almost single-handedly guiding Chelsea into the Top 4

The only active Chelsea player in the list, Eden Hazard joined the Blues right after their Champions League triumph in Munich in 2012. The Belgian though has reached a stage where he has outgrown Chelsea FC after almost single-handedly ensuring Champions League football for the Blues next season.

Cech and Hazard spent 3 seasons together and won 1 Premier League, 1 League Cup, and 1 Europa league.


Didier Drogba

Drogba, one of the best strikers for Chelsea
Drogba, one of the best strikers for Chelsea

The most important signing ever in the history of Chelsea FC, "King" Didier Drogba joined the Roman Abramovich revolution along with Jose Mourinho and Petr Cech in 2004 and left the club for the first time after their greatest achievement ever, the 2012 UEFA Champions League.

The striker epitomized the Russian owner's desire for continued success. Didier Drogba was famous for his ability to rise up to the occasion and deliver in the finals of every knockout competitions that he has been part of.

Petr Cech and Didier Drogba played 8 seasons together for the Blues winning 4 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 2 Commounity Sheilds and the UEFA Champions League.

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Edited by Aravind Suchindran
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