Retiring Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech says he can leave the game with his head held high despite a 4-1 loss in his final career appearance.
Cech’s Gunners suffered a 4-1 reverse at the hands of Chelsea in the Europa League final. The Czech Republic international represented the Stamford Bridge club with distinction for 11 years before making the switch to the Emirates in 2015.
Although the scoreline went against his team, Cech counts himself lucky to have bowed out of football at the highest level.
“I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of the way I played today because when you play your last career game in the final there is a lot of pressure and speculation,” he told BT Sport after the game.
“I had to perform and I have to say I have done everything I can, and I can look back with no regrets apart from the fact we worked so hard all year to finish with nothing.”
Cech went on to praise the dedication of this, his final group of team mates, as they end the season empty-handed and with their hopes of qualification for next season’s Champions League dashed.
“This group of players do not deserve it because of how much work has been done this season.
“It is easy to say we finish empty-handed but I can assure everyone that the work we have done will mean this team will come back much stronger next year.”
Cech, who turned 37 on May 20, appeared 333 times for Chelsea and there are rumours the club are sounding him out about a return to west London in a Director of Football role.
The ‘keeper who was visibly emotional as the curtain fell on his career was guarded about his future after the game, referencing his Arsenal contract, which still has a month to run.
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“I keep saying I wanted to lift the trophy and then think about it,” the 124 cap international continued.
“Until June 30 I am an Arsenal player.”
Defeat in Wednesday’s final aside Cech can review a distinguished career that saw him win four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League and the Europa League.