PETR CECH ON THE ROAD BACK
Petr Cech has given his first interview since the serious head injury he suffered at Reading. His words can be read here.
The interview took place at Chelsea's training ground when players and staff welcomed Petr back for the first time since the surgery he underwent on his fractured skull.
He was at Cobham earlier than the majority of players, accompanied by his wife Martina, and was eager to see them when they arrived. Reunited also with his goalkeeping coach, Silvinho, and Jose Mourinho, there was much to discuss.
Petr stayed several hours and underwent some treatment from the club's medical staff.
His other appointment was to sit down and speak to Chelsea TV, who were by no means the only people to enquire after his health.
How are you?
I am okay. I feel better and I am improving and I am happy to be here at the training ground to see the lads. After that, the mood is getting better as well.
Your hair is beginning to grow back. You have got a big scar.
Yeah, because I don't have so many hairs, I think everyone can see it. So I hope my hair is going to grow really quickly. But I am just happy that I am improving in all aspects.
How are you day-to-day, do you get headaches, do you feel sick?
Sometimes it is difficult because you wake up and you have a horrible headache so you have to take your medication and it is very strong.
So it is not the best because after you feel really tired really quickly. You want to walk and you want to watch the telly but after five, ten, fifteen minutes you are really tired and you have to stop.
I just try to live with that and I hope that everyday it is going to get better - and it is better because when I was able to go home, the mood was better. When you are at home, your family is there, your wife is there, your dog is there and you have got so many visitors and so many cards that wish a speedy recovery.
I can feel that there are so many people behind me and wishing me well. This is the best thing you can feel and that is why I feel really relaxed now at home.
The reaction has been very outgoing and the support at Chelsea from colleagues has been fantastic.
I think it has been fantastic from everyone. It has been the players, the managers, the staff, it was everyone in Chelsea, including supporters.
I got so many cards and letters from people outside, not involved in Chelsea. Supporters of other teams, and so many goalkeepers from international leagues. It was brilliant for me and I think this is the energy you've got.
Who are some of the goalkeepers who have contacted you?
I've got letters from every goalkeeper at Portsmouth. I've got one from Ricardo who plays for Sporting Lisbon and I have got Shay Given who texted me a message.
It is brilliant as well because he is injured, he knows how it feels, and he sent me a message wishing me a speedy recovery so I was very happy with that. And I could keep going with that so it has been brilliant
How important has Martina been?
She was the most important person together with my family. Because she was every day in the hospital, even days I couldn't remember her. She stayed there 24 hours and she was really tired.
She had a lot of things to do but she showed me the love every minute and I really appreciate it.
What is your schedule and agenda from now?
I hope that everything will improve. Soon I have got a medical meeting with Bryan English, the club doctor, and all the medical department - and they will tell me the schedule, what I can do, and hopefully I start growing the muscles.
It will be really difficult because I can't move for a long time, the most 15-to-20 minutes and then I am exhausted. So it will be difficult, even with the metal in your head you need some recovery.
They will prepare some programme for me, massages, little walks, these kind of things so I start maintaining my body and I hope I will be able to go back as soon as I can.
You must be needing a holiday?
There is one possibility that I will go with Martina somewhere away. For me it is difficult when I am watching football every day. You are sitting at home and you can't hardly move and you see your colleague play for the three points, difficult games, Champions League games and things like this.
Sometimes it is difficult because you know it is not going to be the case for you for at least three months. You have to accept this.
The schedule was really difficult. We had the World Cup, Champions League, I had the shoulder operation, all in the last three months so I think now it is time to relax a bit and especially to be with Martina because she deserves it.
The holiday in the summer you couldn't move your arms because you had the shoulder operation and now you can't move your head too much! You've got to give her a holiday that she is going to enjoy!
I think she will enjoy the holidays anyway. I hope so. I hope we will have a little time together so I hope everyone will allow me to go with her for two weeks.
For me it will be good relaxation, I will forget about football and I will get back the energy and when I am back, I will be ready to start the rehabilitation and all the work on the way back.
Do you remember anything that happened at Reading?
I have tried to think about this and the last thing I remember is the shaking hands before the game started. I remember the warm-up, I remember all the way from the hotel to the stadium because usually I always take the programme and I read a little bit.
I go around the pitch because I want to see what the pitch is looking like and I did that.
After I remember the warm-up with Silvinho, Carlo and Hilario. The last thing I remember is going out of the dressing room, ready with the kit.
The shake hands is the last thing I remember because JT lost the toss and I had to run to the other side. I don't even remember the kick-off.
Have you seen the challenge again on the television?
I have seen it once and I was surprised in the way that I thought it happened on the other side of the head. So that just proves that I don't remember anything.
What did you actually think of it?
I have seen it only once and I don't want to speak about this for the moment because even for me it is difficult - but the club is dealing with that and I will leave it with the club for the moment.
Have you seen the Carlo incident at the end of the game?
I have seen the Carlo incident as well. It is always difficult to see yourself on the floor but still I could see me speaking to the doctor and moving.
When I see Carlo and he was looking like that, it was really horrible. When you see your colleague, or any professional footballer lying on the pitch like this, it is very horrible.
Hilario has done okay.
I am happy for him because when he came to Chelsea, everyone told he would be the third choice goalkeeper. It is never easy to accept this role. Even so, he said he would work 100 per cent to do the best he can if he has a chance to play. His chance arrived and he did very well.
He was under huge pressure against Barcelona because maybe the whole world was watching him to see if he can play this kind of game, and he played very well.
After that, Portsmouth - three points, at Blackburn - clean sheet, and I think we can be very happy with him.
Have you got a message for the fans?
The message is that I say thank you to everybody who supported me the whole time I was in hospital and I say thank you for everyone who will support me on the way back.
I will do my best to come back even stronger than before and I hope they will support the team as best they can because the team needs the support and I hope the team do the best they can for the supporters as well.
And I hope that at the time I come back we will be first, sitting far in front of the others and still in all four competitions.
If you come back stronger, at the beginning of the season you were arguably in the form of your life.
I don't know if I was in the form of my life. I was not happy with the goal against Aston Villa and the goal against Charlton (he laughs). I was a little disappointed that I conceded two goals.
I was very happy with my performances because it was after my operation and you never know when you restart playing if you will play worse than before.
But actually because I felt so much better than before because everything was solved, for me it was a pleasure to play. I really enjoyed every minute on the pitch and I think everyone could see it.