After guiding Arsenal to a superb Community Shield victory over old side Chelsea, Petr Cech has now revealed that he was once minding goal for a completely different sport, Ice Hockey.
The Czech Republican has had a glittering career in which he has asserted himself as arguably the greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history. Since taking over from Carlo Cudicini in 2004 the 31-year-old has gone from strength to strength, but it may have never happened had it not been for another sport.
As a multi-skilled sportsman Cech was a net minder for his local Ice Hockey side and in truth had never considered a career in a larger net. “I never thought of being a goalkeeper,” Cech admitted during an interview with the Arsenal magazine.
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It was curiosity in training that got the better of him he concedes, “Sometimes I went into goal because I wanted to see the difference between a big goal and a small ice hockey goal”.
Had it not been for the odd stint in training or an absent goalkeeper his coach may never have trialled Cech in goal and seen the instant results that followed.
Instead he would have remained in midfield where he was originally more favourable towards. His tall stature and agility meant he prospered outfield, but would he have set the world alight as he has done in goal?
Keeping over 200 clean cheers for Chelsea, could he have had the opposite affect upfield? Many other goalkeepers have tried.
Here are three other goal keepers who could have played outfield:
1. Rogerio Ceni
It simply had to be done. A Guiness world record holder, Brazilian Rogerio Ceni is expected to retire this year after a glittering career that saw him score an incredible 123 times for Sao Paulo.
Ceni was an unlikely set piece specialist, scoring regularly from free kicks and penalties before sprinting back to his own goal to recover. Just watch this:
2. Manuel Neuer
Arguably the best goalkeeper in the world now, Manuel Neuer has an air of the eccentric about him. He can be seen outside of his box as regularly as inside, the German is a true sweeper keeper.
The difference between the 29-year-old and many other “sweeper keepers” is that he actually posses a considerable amount of skill and expertise in the area. So much so that his National team coach Joachim Low claims he could play in midfield.
3. Rene Higuita
Ok, so he may be in this list purely because of “that save” against England, an incredible scorpion kick from a rare Jamie Redknapp shot.
However outside of that moment he was actually regarded as an adept outfielder, he is the fourth highest scoring goalkeeper in history and could regally be caught marauding upfield with the ball.