Petr Cech has achieved so much during his illustrious football career and, as a result, is likely to stand as an inspiration for many young and aspiring goalkeepers for years to come.
But it was not too long ago that Cech himself was looking up to other goalkeepers in the hope of one day emulating their achievements.
In celebration of his Premier League clean sheet record, broken against Bournemouth on Monday, the 33-year-old has revealed the six shot-stoppers he looked up to as a fledgling in the Czech Republic.
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The Arsenal goalkeeper admits there was never one man he aspired to match, but, like the intelligent man he is, he instead aimed to take the best parts of the six legends and apply them to his own game.
The list includes the usual suspects, some of whom are still playing today. In fact, one of them is only a year older than Cech himself. But one notable absentee is Arsenal and England legend David Seaman.
“Oliver Kahn had the determination"
"Canizares you could see the concentration and focus in his eyes"
"Schmeichel had an overall presence"
Edwin van der Sar
"Van der Saar started playing at Ajax as a libero and you had never seen that before"
"Iker is only one year older me and you think ‘if he can play for Real Madrid at 18 why can’t I?’"
"You realise it’s not only about age, but how well you train and play"
Here is the full transcription of Cech's interview with the Mirror:
“When I was a kid I didn’t have one goalkeeper to look up to. I was watching all the games and realised there are so many keepers with something which stands out.
“Oliver Kahn and his determination, Canizares you could see the concentration and focus in his eyes, Schmeichel and his overall presence.
"And then came Van der Saar. He started playing at Ajax as a libero and you had never seen that before.
“People then thought the keeper is not just there to save the ball, you have an extra player. So you try to take the best of all the best keepers around and make a puzzle for yourself. You know what will work and how you can improve things.
“Then you had Casillas and Buffon playing when they were really young. Iker is only one year older me and you think ‘if he can play for Real Madrid at 18 why can’t I?’
"So you realise it’s not only about age, but how well you train and play. This was my approach to it and I learned from everyone.”
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