Petr Cech completed a long-awaited move across London to the Emirates Stadium on Monday, signing a ‘long-term deal’ with the Gunners for a fee believed to be around £11million.
The Czech Republic national goalkeeper has poured out his heart in a thank you letter he wrote to the club fans, expressing his delight been with them for 11 years and amassing trophies all through it.
The 33-year-old was Chelsea’s number one glovesman throughout a glittering era for the club, winning four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and the Champions League and Europa League, before he was replaced by rising star Thibaut Courtois last season.
After years of regular first-team football, Cech, who admitted he thought he’d hang up his gloves as a Chelsea player was left frustrated with his new bit-part role at Stamford Bridge and explained he felt he had more to give in the Premier League and was keen for “a new challenge”.
Cech also thanked club owner Roman Abramovich “from the bottom of [his] heart” for sanctioning the move to a rival team, insisting that “without him Chelsea would not be where it is now”.
Read Petr Cech’s open letter to Chelsea fans in full below:
“I thought this would never happen but it is time for me to say goodbye to Chelsea. The club I have lived every single minute for since joining in July 2004, the club in which I thought I’d hang my gloves and boots one day and finish my career. But life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will.
“Since 2004 it has been an incredible journey with so many highs and not many lows. We have managed to win every single English trophy as well as the Europa League and the biggest of all Champions League.
Looking back at all the achievements, including our first-ever league double in 2010, back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, and multiple EPL and FA Cup wins, I couldn’t be more proud! As a team we made history together!
“Last summer, things changed and I understood I was no longer the first-choice keeper but I felt it was not the right time for me to go. During the season it became clear that my situation would not improve and as I know I am not at the stage of my career when I want to be on the bench, I made my decision to move on and look for new challenges.
“The limited playing time gave me the chance to refresh and rest mentally as well as make me realise just how much I enjoy playing football at the highest level, because I missed it badly every game day I was not involved. I have the same commitment to football, the same motivation and the same hunger for success as I had at the beginning of my career and I love the challenges brought by the top-quality players you face while playing the Premier League simply the best and the most challenging league in the world.
“That’s why I spoke to Mr Abramovich about me staying in the Premier League and I’d like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for his support in this matter. It means so much to me because without him Chelsea would not be where it is now. He deserves huge credit for what he has done for the club and for all of us.
“I would like to personally thank everybody involved with Chelsea for their support all the players, staff, managers and all the coaching staff I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. Without them it would have been impossible for us to have achieved such success.
“But most important of all a huge thank-you goes to all the Chelsea fans. I did everything for you and you gave me your love back. I’ll never forget it.
It will stay with me forever. We will meet again but this time I will be in the other goal I hope you will remember our history and understand it is time for me to begin a new adventure.
“I wish everybody at Chelsea all the best for the new season and for the future. Thank you for an incredible 11 years.”