Goalkeeper Cech hoping to beat Wales before enjoying summer break

Petr Cech, photo: CTK

The Czech football team are preparing for their last game before the summer, a Euro 2008 qualifier against Wales this Saturday. That match will be the end of a long season for goalkeeper Petr Cech, who underwent shoulder operations last summer and then suffered a life-threatening head injury in October. Cech made an unusually swift recovery, but despite his return Chelsea failed in their bid to win four competitions, ending up with "just" the English league and FA cups. How does Cech himself see the season?

Petr Cech,  photo: CTK
"I think the season was...great. I went through difficult times - I had two operations and each time I had to come back, so it took a lot of energy. But overall I think [Chelsea] did very well. We had so many injuries, so many troubles during the season that we couldn't rotate the team. In the end the fatigue was very high - I think this cost us the Premiership, because we had to play almost every game with the same squad. We played in all competitions, it's been very difficult."

You got a special award from Chelsea for your quick return - what did that mean to you?

"I was really surprised and it means a lot to me, because they showed me respect and that the people at the club appreciate what I'm doing for the club. I was very pleased with the award."

Maybe you're getting tired of this question, but I'm sure a lot of our listeners will want to know: are you going to wear that helmet next season?

"I don't know at the moment because I will have some medical checkups at the end of the summer, at the beginning of the new season. I'll see what the result will be - I'll know only then if I can leave it off."

Petr Cech,  Karel Brückner,  Tomas Rosicky,  photo: CTK
There's only one game left for you this season, this Saturday against Wales, in Wales. The Czech Republic have dropped a few points in their campaign to reach Euro 2008 - how important is it for you to win in Wales, in Cardiff?

"It's very important, because we're now in a position to be qualified for Euro 2008. We can be there only by winning games and this one is very important for us. I hope that we can make a good performance at the Millennium Stadium and that we can win."

The day after that game your summer holidays begin - does it make it harder for you to concentrate when everybody's thinking about their summer holidays?

"No, I think we all know what we are playing for. It's only five days with the national team. One good game and we can all have our holidays. I think everyone's looking forward to this game."

How long will you have off, how much free time will you have? And what are you planning to do in the summer?

"I will stay here for a few weeks with my family, and afterwards I will go somewhere by the sea, because it's nice to be relaxing on the beach. And we start on July 8 with Chelsea, so by then I have to be back."