Petr Cech enjoyed a sparkling 11-year career at Stamford Bridge, winning every club honour possible during that period, surpassing Peter Bonetti’s Chelsea clean-sheet record and becoming the highest overseas appearance maker in our history.
Cech was chosen ahead of Carlo Cudicini to make his debut on the opening day of the 2004/05 campaign in a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
His quality was apparent from very early on in his Chelsea career, and with a defensive unit in front of him that proved almost impenetrable for long spells during that season, we romped to a first title in 50 years. Cech kept 24 clean sheets and set a Premier League record at the time by going 1024 minutes without conceding a goal.
The following season followed a similar pattern, with the Blues dominant and our goalkeeper producing incredible levels of consistency as we recorded consecutive title triumphs.
However he had to overcome a fractured skull following a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt early in the 2006/07 season. By working tirelessly out on the training pitch he returned after three months and a man for the big occasions played a starring role in many more memorable matches.
As well as keeping a clean sheet in the first FA Cup final at the new Wembley in 2007, Cech saved a penalty in the same fixture three years later. Another stunning stop was made in the 2012 FA Cup final against Liverpool when he somehow managed to keep out an Andy Carroll header late in the game.
Undoubtedly his finest night in a Chelsea shirt came in Munich a few days later, when a truly outstanding performance helped the Blues to Champions League glory. Having saved an Arjen Robben penalty during extra time, Cech got his had to two more in the shoot-out prior to Didier Drogba’s decisive kick.
While he wasn’t as heavily involved as he had grown accustomed to during his final season at the club, he still made a big contribution as the team lifted two trophies in 2014/15, keeping five clean sheets in six Premier League appearances on our way to being crowned champions and playing in a 2-0 Capital One Cup final triumph over Tottenham.
Cech departed the club in June 2015 having made 494 appearances for the Blues and won 13 major honours, by far the best record by any goalkeeper to have played for Chelsea.