Jose Mourinho has expressed his privilege in being the man who introduced Petr Cech to the Premier League 15 years ago.
Cech, 36, announced that he will be hanging up his gloves at the end of the season, bringing an end to his illustrious 20-year playing career.
How influential has Mourinho been to Cech? Five key things to know…
- Mourinho joined Chelsea in 2004 and made Cech his second signing at the club.
- The Czech Republican joined from Rennes for around £7m.
- Mourinho and Cech would go on to win the Premier League title during their first season at Chelsea together.
- The pair would win five major domestic titles during Mourinho’s first stint at the club, as well as a further two in his second spell.
- Cech ultimately parted for Arsenal in 2015 but remains a club legend in west London.
The current Arsenal ‘keeper was an integral cog in Mourinho’s XI during the duo’s time together at Stamford Bridge, and the Portuguese has now paid homage to his former No 1 in the wake of his announcement.
Mourinho told Sky Sports News: “I am honoured to have been the manager that, at such an early age, gave Petr a top Premier League number one shirt.
“After that day, it is all about him. All about his numbers, his performances, his clean sheets, his titles and his professionalism.
“It’s a big loss for football but history can’t be deleted. Many congratulations on such an amazing career.”
Of the four Premier League titles Cech won with Chelsea, three were clinched under the auspices of Mourinho, while he also set a club record of 228 clean sheets across all competitions during his time with the club.
Chelsea to offer role to Cech
According to The Times Chelsea have declared an interest in offering their former gloveman a role at the club following the news of his retirement.
The mountainous shot-stopper enjoyed 11 years in west London, where he won 13 trophies, including the Champions League title in 2012 and four Premier League trophies.
It has been reported that Cech, who lives near the club’s training facilities in Cobham, Surrey, could be offered either a coaching or ambassadorial role.
The 36-year-old has made no indication of his immediate plans after he retires, but revealed he is excited about the prospect of what life will be like once his playing career comes to an end.
“Having played 15 years in the Premier League and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve,” Cech said. “I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy.
“This is my 20th season as a professional player and it feels like the right time to announce that I will retire. I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch.”