Star goalkeeper Petr Cech "very satisfied" with comeback after head injury

Petr Cech, photo: CTK

The Czech football goalkeeper Petr Cech made headlines around the world when he suffered a potentially life-threatening injury during a game with his club Chelsea in October. There were fears that the injury, a skull fracture, could keep him out of action for the rest of the season, and even worries he might never regain his world's-best form. But Cech has made a fantastic recovery - and a speedy return. He conceded two goals in his first game back on January 20, but since then has kept several clean sheets. I asked Petr Cech how satisfied he was with his comeback.

Petr Cech,  photo: CTK
"Yeah, I'm very satisfied. Because it was very difficult to come back. I've been out for a long time and you never know what's going to happen on the pitch. I've been quite pleased with my performances until now."

Just before you came back you said you were stronger than ever - in what sense are you stronger than ever?

"I feel physically very strong and mentally as well. Because I came through a difficult period in my life - and I came back. As I said, I played very well in these last games, and that's what's made me really positive in my mind."

Petr Cech,  photo: CTK
How was the reaction of the Chelsea fans when you came back after that injury?

"I was absolutely delighted with the reaction of the crowd and everyone at the club, because they supported me the whole time. And the reaction when I played the first game at home against Wycombe was just perfect."

There was a huge amount of attention given to your injury here. Were you aware how much of a big issue it was in the Czech Republic?

"I was aware. I could speak to my family in the Czech Republic, and (laughs) I'm Czech as well...

Tomas Rosicky and Petr Cech,  photo: CTK
I knew exactly what's happening here and I could see the internet and newspapers. I got a lot of letters and messages from people in the Czech Republic, and all over the world, so I was aware what it means to the people here."

This is your first time back with the Czech squad since your injury - were you looking forward to that a lot?

"Of course I'm very pleased I can be here. It's been a long time. I was missing my team-mates and we have a great atmosphere here, so it's always a pleasure to come."

Cech came second in the Czech Footballer of the Year awards on Monday night, behind captain and Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky. The two stars and their team-mates take on Belgium in a friendly game on Wednesday; next month the Czechs play Germany and Cyprus as part of their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.