Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has warned manager Jose Mourinho that he has no intention of playing second-fiddle to Thibaut Courtois during the upcoming season. The long-serving Blues’ number one is, however, set to be dropped for the season-opener against Burnley on August 18.
Courtois, who established his reputation as the best young goalkeeper on the planet during his three consecutive season-long loan spells with Atletico Madrid, is poised to become Chelsea’s new first-choice keeper.
Cech’s message to Mourinho
Cech made his return to action, after undergoing shoulder surgery back in May, during Wednesday’s 1-1 pre-season draw with Wolfsberger in Austria. Courtois, meanwhile, is still on holiday following his involvement in the latter stages of the World Cup finals with Belgium.
But Cech insists that he is not prepared to give up his number one jersey without a fight.
"I don't want to be on the bench," he told reporters. "This is why I am trying to do everything to be in the team.
"I don't want to talk about ifs and buts. Let’s see how I am going and what happens.
"You know I always give my best and obviously that is all I can do. I will do my best and do everything I can do to be as ready as possible for when the season starts.
"Every year there is a challenge. If you are going to be in the team you are going to have to do better than the other guys in the team. I think Mark Schwarzer, when he came last year, did remarkably well during the pre-season and when he played in any game he did very well, so I knew the challenge was there."
Courtois is very different from Schwarzer
Although Cech comfortably saw off the challenge of Schwarzer, who turns 42 in October, the Czech Republic international should expect to face an altogether tougher challenge to retain his status as Chelsea’s number one with Courtois on the scene.
While Germany’s Manuel Neuer is now widely regarded as the world’s best goalkeeper following his heroics at the recent World Cup finals in Brazil, the same was being said about Courtois after Atletico Madrid secured their first La Liga trophy since 1996 back in May.
Courtois was simply outstanding throughout the 2013/14 campaign, which is why Mourinho was so keen to bring him back to Stamford Bridge this summer - even though Cech was named in the PFA Team of the Year at the end of last season.
Cech to leave Chelsea?
If, as expected, Cech starts the opening weeks of the 2014/15 season on the substitutes’ bench, it would come as no great surprise if the 32-year-old left Stamford Bridge before the transfer window closes on September 2.
His agent, Viktor Kolar, recently revealed that French giants Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco are keen to secure the keeper’s services. Meanwhile, Kolar also threatened to get in contract with Barcelona and Real Madrid if Mourinho decides to stick with Courtois.
Unless Courtois endures a miserable start to his Chelsea career, it seems increasingly likely that Cech’s spell at Stamford Bridge is coming to an end.