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Chelsea legendary goalkeeper Petr Cech has revealed how he broke through at Chelsea after making the move from Rennes to Chelsea in 2004 for a fee of £9m.
At 21, Cech was already impressing in the French league but to become number one at Chelsea, he had to displace a fans favourite in Carlo Cudicini.
“When Chelsea came in, a big club with huge potential and ambition, I wanted to go,” Cech said in an interview with the official Chelsea website, as he recounts how he joined Chelsea.
“I pushed a little bit and in the end the clubs managed to get the agreement. Chelsea wanted me to move in January so if Carlo Cudicini was injured they had the option of playing me, but Monsieur Pinault wouldn’t allow that. He said if I went it had to be at the end of the season.”
In the interview, Cech looked back at how he had to earn the trust of Chelsea fans who were singing the name of Cudicini in his first few games for the club.
Cech recounted: “When we played the Zola game against Zaragoza, as soon as we walked out for the warm-up, the whole stadium was singing ‘Carlo! Carlo!’
“Then when we played the Man United game, that started as well when we walked out for the warm-up. Everyone expected him to play.
“When the first line-ups came out and the fans saw he wasn’t playing, the whole stadium was cheering him up by singing it again. It was very loud and you could really feel it. I remember we were on the side and Silvino [Louro, the goalkeeping coach] was shooting at us. He was suddenly looking up and was like “oh my god!”.
“I told him not to worry, but it put the pressure on. I knew if I didn’t perform, I would be straight out. Carlo had been a fantastic goalkeeper and he could walk in that team anytime, so the manager would have an easy job swapping the keepers if he needed to.
“That was an engine for me to perform. I knew I had to be on my toes every day, otherwise I would quickly end up on the bench.”