Petr Cech has explained why he’s chosen to retire from international football with the Czech Republic.
The goalkeeper wished his compatriots luck on Friday after announcing the decision on Twitter and although he didn’t explain the decision at the time, we speculated that it could be to do with his age. He’s 34, after all, and by the time the World Cup comes around, he’ll be 36. Although he’s still very capable of playing, he does need more time to rest – something he hasn’t really had for the majority of his career.
“I’ve been playing in the national team for 14 years,” he told Arsenal Player.
“We always qualified for the big tournaments.
“I’ve had so many club games to play year-by-year too, and I think I’ve reached the point where I believe that if I want to continue doing things to 100% every day, like I’ve always done, then I will probably need more time to rest and recover.
“This is a purely football-based decision. If I want to prolong my career and play at the highest level for as long as I can, then I will probably need to find the balance so that I can continue to do so.
“I’m now 34 and the next [international] tournament is in two years which, in football, is a very long time. The last thing I wanted to do was start a campaign and then say ‘I don’t think it’s right for me to continue’ halfway through it.
“I’ve made fantastic memories and I will keep them. But as I said, you cannot stop time and sometimes you need to make decisions looking to the future. I believe it is the right move.
“When I was a kid, my ultimate dream was to play for the national team at least once. Having done it so many times makes me really proud.
“You look back at the Czech and Czechoslovakian history and you see so many great names and players. I managed to play more games than them, which shows the consistency and quality of my game.”
No one can begrudge the Czech his rest after having some a brilliant international career. He’s their most capped player and a hero for their fans.
Czech/Cech/Check (get it?!?!) out some of his Euro highlights below.