CECH THE CLEAN SHEET KING
Petr Cech today set a new Chelsea goalkeeping record for clean sheets.
With the team not conceding a goal in the 2-0 victory away against Hull City, it was the 209th time Cech had played in a shut-out performance, beating the 208 clean sheets recorded by Peter Bonetti in his long and distinguished Chelsea career that spanned 1959 to 1979.
On breaking the record, Cech who joined Chelsea in 2004 and made his 459th appearance today said:
'It is a great personal achievement, a great milestone that gives you motivation and satisfaction, but I believe this number can grow and hopefully it will help us win another trophy.
'The most important thing today was to get the three points but I was thinking in the second half I still have the clean sheet and in the end we had both the points and the clean sheet.
'I am still young, I can keep playing and I hope I will so I can add some more clean sheets and we will see where the final number will stop.
'The pleasing thing is we won a lot of trophies since I started playing for the club and all those clean sheets helped to achieve that.'
It was also the 31-year-old's 150th clean sheet in the Premier League measured by their criteria*. The all-time record in that competition is 169 by David James and Jose Mourinho is backing his keeper to beat that.
'Petr is almost 10 years playing at the top and there has been clean sheet after clean sheet,' said the Chelsea manager.
'At this moment he beats the record of Mr Bonetti but I think probably next year he will beat the record of the Premier League.
'He becomes a historic figure in the Premier League because all his career has been here since 2004. Also playing with Chelsea he has a lot of appearances and the best stage for a goalkeeper I think is between 30 and 35.'
Bonetti, who also worked as a goalkeeper coach at Chelsea during the 1980s and currently is a matchday host in one of the hospitality areas at Stamford Bridge, reacted to Cech's achievement with praise for his successor.
'Petr Cech has been brilliant to do what he's done, he's one of the best goalkeepers I've seen. His record speaks for itself.
'I admire him greatly, he's been incredible, and still has a long time to go. He is relatively young and could still go on to break more and more records.
'Clean sheets were a little more rare back in my day but that takes nothing away from him, he's been brilliant. He's a fantastic person. When I first met him he was a real gentleman. I went to wish him well when he first joined and it was like we knew each other from years back. Whenever I see him he is always lovely, very courteous and always eager to say hello. He's a very genuine person.'
Cech recently said he would invite Bonetti for a drink when the record changed hands and it is an invitation that will be accepted.
'I'm looking forward to him buying that drink when we cross paths, maybe at the end of the season,' said Bonetti. 'I'm looking forward to getting that cup of tea once there's no work to worry about!'
Frank Lampard, who set a new goalscoring record for Chelsea last season and has shared so much success with Cech and played in so many of those clean-sheet games, joined in the plaudits for his colleague.
'Pete has been one of the best goalkeepers for many, many years,' said the midfielder.
'He's unbelievable, particularly in the year we won the Champions League, looking back on the final and the games towards the final and how much he saved us. I don't think he got enough recognition for it on a world scale.
'People talk about other goalies in Spain and Italy, but nobody was in Pete's class that year. At Chelsea obviously people recognise him. One of the downsides of being as consistent as him is maybe people do get used to you being that good. We're very lucky to have him.'
Everyone at Chelsea Football Club congratulates Petr on his huge achievement.
*Chelsea FC awards a clean sheet to the starting goalkeeper when the team does not concede in the complete match. In the event of an outfield player or (since 1992) a substitute keeper replacing an injured or sent-off keeper then they share the clean sheet. Some other organisations' records require the keeper to complete the match before he is given a clean sheet.