Cech: Not many people really understand what it takes to become a top professional.

Cech never thought of being a goalkeeper when he was a kid.

Petr Cech at the Emirates Stadium. [Getty]
Petr Cech at the Emirates Stadium. [Getty]

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has spoken about how he started his football career as he never thought of playing between the sticks.

Most people obviously think the Czech Republic’s most-capped player, who has lifted 14 major honours, started his career as a shotstopper but that wasn't the case as he was a midfielder when he was a boy. Playing in goal when his team’s regular keeper wasn't available for a match at the time was the start of his goalkeeping journey.

However, the former Chelsea star, who will retire at the end of this season, says 'not many understand what it takes' to become a top professional.

The 36-year-old told Arsenal Player: “I started as a midfielder or a left winger.

“When I was probably eight and a half, we had a game where our goalkeeper didn’t come.

“Obviously someone had to go in goal. Because the coach had seen me in goal a few times in training, he put me in. I went in there for one game and the goalkeeping coach watched the game, and wanted me to be a goalkeeper.

“I played in the Under-16 European Championship and I didn’t have any contract at the time. Then suddenly a team came along and offered me a contract. When this opportunity came, I had to make the decision whether to go with my hometown and the team I’d played for ever since I was seven, or if I changed team.

Petr Cech. [Getty]
Petr Cech. [Getty]

“In the end, I went to the club which was in the top division, Sparta Prague. Obviously I had all the pressure of being at 18 or 19 years of age and then playing in the Champions League, for the top Czech team who were supposed to win every single game. It was a huge learning experience.

“When you reach the top of the top and you’re in that small group of top professionals, then you realise there’s not many people who really understand how hard it is to be there and what it takes.”