Football: Euro 2016 to test Cech's desire to go on

Petr Cech holds the ball during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal.
Petr Cech holds the ball during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal. PHOTO: AFP

(AFP) - Petr Cech is heading to his fourth European Championships to set a new record in games played for the Czech Republic, but it may well be his last for the national team.

"After Euro I'll sit down at home and decide whether I'll go on," the 33-year-old Arsenal 'keeper told reporters.

His move from Chelsea to Arsenal in 2015 made the headlines, and so has his season so far.

In January, Cech beat David James' record of 169 clean sheets in the Premier League. His record currently stands at 174.

In November, he equalled Karel Poborsky's record of 118 games for the Czech Republic, and he is most likely to beat that in the opening Euro game against Spain on June 13.

The Czechs also face Croatia and Turkey in Group D, and 121 may thus be the final number for Cech, who will likely captain the team if his injury-prone Arsenal team-mate Tomas Rosicky stays on the sidelines.

"I would travel less and play fewer games, which may prolong my club career," Cech said.

"But first of all I believe the upcoming Euro will turn out well for us and we'll get the best result we can - I will only deal with my future after that," he added.

The Czechs will rely on "Cechino" especially as they have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 19 games under coach Pavel Vrba.

Cech joined Chelsea in 2004, after a Euro tournament at which the Czechs took third place following wins over Germany and the Netherlands.

With Chelsea he won four Premier League titles (2005, 2006, 2010, 2015), the Champions League (2012), the Europa League (2013) and a host of other trophies.

But Cech had little say in the last Premiership title, playing only seven games in the 2014-2015 season as Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho preferred rising Belgian star Thibaut Courtois.

After 11 years with the Blues, Cech moved across London to become the Gunners' No. 1 'keeper. It gave him a new lease of life.

Asked if he could imagine staying in the job until 40, Cech recently said: "I say yes, here and now. As long as I know I get up in the morning fully prepared and motivated to focus on training, my career continues."

"I still have the motivation, I still look forward to each training session, I still have the drive."

Eight times the Czech Footballer of the Year, Cech also lifted the trophy of the world's best goalkeeper in 2005.

Cech, who has been wearing a helmet since picking up a serious head injury in 2006, is married and has a daughter and a son.

The star 'keeper has a passion for drumming - he has played with a Czech band and appeared at a local rock festival in 2013.

He also owns a company organising mountain bike races for the public.