Petr Cech quits internationals to boost club career
Published 08/07/2016 | 13:16
Petr Cech has revealed he has quit international football to help him stay at his best for Arsenal.
The 34-year-old holds a record 121 caps for the Czech Republic and played all three games as Pavel Vrba's side exited Euro 2016 at the group stage with just one point.
But he has now announced his international retirement ahead of a new Premier League season with the Gunners - who he joined last summer from London rivals Chelsea.
Cech, who lifted four league titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League during his time at Stamford Bridge, holds the record for the most clean sheets in Premier League history after overtaking David James during his maiden campaign with Arsenal.
And now he wants to remain at the top level for as long as possible, the reason he puts behind stepping down from the international stage with the Czech Republic.
"I think I've reached the point where I believe that if I want to continue doing things to 100 per cent every day, like I've always done, then I will probably need more time to rest and recover," he told Arsenal Player.
"This is a purely football-based decision. If I want to prolong my career and play at the highest level for as long as I can, then I will probably need to find the balance so that I can continue to do so.
"I'm now 34 and the next international tournament is in two years which, in football, is a very long time. The last thing I wanted to do was start a campaign and then say 'I don't think it's right for me to continue' halfway through it."
Cech made his senior international debut in 2002 and went on to represent the Czech Republic at Euro 2004 - where they finished third - and the 2006 World Cup before captaining the side at Euro 2008.
While 2006 proved to be his only chance to appear in the World Cup finals, Cech would go on to play for his country at Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 - but has now called time on his international career.
"I've made fantastic memories and I will keep them," he added.
"But as I said, you cannot stop time and sometimes you need to make decisions looking to the future. I believe it is the right move.
"When I was a kid, my ultimate dream was to play for the national team at least once," he added. "Having done it so many times makes me really proud.
"You look back at the Czech and Czechoslovakian history and you see so many great names and players. I managed to play more games than them, which shows the consistency and quality of my game."