Fifty stitches and cosmetic surgery for goalkeeper Čech after training accident

Petr Čech

Soccer star Petr Čech is the best paid Czech sports person ever, and is surely the most successful Czech of his generation. But the Chelsea goalkeeper is no stranger to bad luck either. After a life-threatening head injury last season, Čech is now in the wars again – he needed 50 stitches and had to undergo plastic surgery after a collision in training left him with a deep cut in his face.

Petr Čech | Photo: Filip Jandourek,  Czech Radio
Petr Čech has set several records and picked up a number of medals since joining English Premier League mega-club Chelsea nearly four years ago, and the Plzeň-born 25-year-old is often referred to as the world’s best goalkeeper.

Last season Čech made global headlines when a collision with an opponent left him with a horrific, life-threatening head injury. He underwent surgery for a depressed fracture of the skull, but made a speedy recovery and was back in goal for Chelsea after only three months. Since then the goalie has worn a rugby-style head guard.

This season has been frustrating for Čech, who has been out with a series of injuries. He was on his way back from the latest, an ankle injury, when in training on Sunday he sustained a sickening injury.

After taking an accidental boot in the face from team-mate Tal Ben-Haim, the goalkeeper was left with a deep cut in his lower lip and chin. Čech was immediately taken to hospital, where he reportedly was given 50 stitches – 30 at the deepest point of the cut. He also underwent cosmetic surgery aimed at preventing any long-term damage.

Chelsea manager Avram Grant told a news conference on Monday that his first choice goalkeeper was likely to be out of action for a further two weeks.

Some are skeptical that Petr Čech will be able to return so soon. But the goalkeeper himself told Czech journalists in a telephone new conference on Tuesday that all going well he could indeed be back in a fortnight – wearing a special face guard, alongside his rugby cap.

Czech fans will be hoping that, protective gear or not, their hero will be between the posts on June 7, when the Czech Republic play hosts Switzerland in the opening game of Euro 2008.