He had been doing it for about a year when the outbreak of the epidemic occurred. Suddenly, he finds that he has dragged away a life he thought he left behind. “We were lucky to be able to finish the season,” he said. “But nobody knew how many players would get the virus, and we had really strict numbers and restrictions. Usually, if a player is injured, you will take someone from the academy, but because we have bubbles. Had to live in, so it was not possible.
“At one point, we were less goalkeepers, so I either took the solution in, or a goalkeeping coach did it. I was fit, so I said okay. “It was a form of emergency cover, as a precaution, but Cech was still more than good enough to be a viable option. He Was briefly registered In Chelsea’s squad list for the Champions League this season.
His primary focus, however, is his new role in what all his other interests should say. Cech is – by the standards of English football – a rarity. In continental Europe and particularly in parts of Germany, it is not uncommon for high-profile players to refrain from coaching and move to front-office roles immediately after retirement: Mark Overmar and Edwin van der Sar at Ajax; Leonardo in Paris Saint-Germain; Nearly the entire off-field hierarchy in Bayern Munich.
England is now only holding on. For the most part, where Premier League clubs employ a technical director, this is seen as a position for a recruiting specialist, someone who can navigate the unhealthy waters of football’s transfer market. Edu Gaspar, Cech at Arsenal and Cechis – both of whom were appointed last year, with vast experience as top players – are exceptions.
For Cech, the appeal of the job lies in how different it is from playing. He thought deeply about what he would do after retiring. He felt, after fracturing his skull in 2006, that “it only took a second split to end everything.” He knew that he would have to be ready.
He is still playing while studying for his coaching license – on international duty with the Czech Republic, he said, “there was always time” – but it occurred to him that the coach was, essentially, a player as a He only lives: “You spend time in training, travel, sports, hotels. The routine is the same.”