Petr Cech on Footballer of Year Pavel Nedved, and his own remarkable season

08-02-2005

At a glitzy ceremony in Prague on Monday night, Pavel Nedved was crowned Czech Footballer of the Year for the fourth time. A former European Player of the Year, the 32-year-old midfielder is one of the biggest stars in the Italian league, where he plays for Juventus. A few months ago he quit as captain of the Czech national team, but there has been talk of a possible comeback. I discussed what makes Pavel Nedved special with another Czech football star, goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Pavel Nedved, photo: CTKPavel Nedved, photo: CTK "I think he's such a great player because he's a complete player. He can do everything: he can play with both feet, he can tackle, he can run. He is aggressive, he has a wonderful shot with both feet. And he has a great spirit, a winning spirit. And I think that type of players are always important for the team."

There you think he will return to the Czech national team? There's a lot of speculation about it.

"I think it's a question of fitness, because his problems with his knees are getting bad, he's injured now as well. So we hope his health will be better and maybe he could join us in a couple of months' time."

Petr Cech, photo: CTKPetr Cech, photo: CTK Petr Cech has also become a star of world football, thanks to his impressive achievements at English Premiership club Chelsea. I asked the brilliant young goalkeeper if he himself was surprised by how well his first season at Chelsea had gone.

"Yeah, I couldn't expect better this season. Because I had to win my place in the squad, as first choice goalkeeper. It's always difficult to be settled quickly in a new team. There were big expectations at Chelsea before this season, so the pressure is big. But I've worked very hard to be successful, and obviously I'm very happy that I've been so successful."

Of course now you aren't the only Czech at Chelsea - Jiri Jarosik is there as well. How much do you enjoy having a fellow Czech in the changing room?

"It's the first time since I've been abroad that I can play with a team-mate from the Czech Republic and I'm happy. Because it's always nice to have somebody like that, to speak Czech, to speak about the country. And I think it's always better to be two than one."

Do you also have to translate for him? I understand he doesn't speak much English yet.

"Yeah, from the beginning I tried to help him, because his English is not so good, for the moment. So the first interviews, and everything about the press I had to do, but of course I can do it for him."

The last time Radio Prague spoke to you, you were living in a hotel in London. Are you more settled now?

Petr Cech, photo: CTKPetr Cech, photo: CTK "Yeah, of course, for more than four months I've been living in my own house. So everything is going better than when I was in a hotel, because it's not so good in a hotel.

"I can say I settled in London very quickly. It's because of my success in football, because if you are going well in your profession - which is for my football - everything goes easier."

Petr Cech will be in goal for the Czech Republic on Wednesday evening, when they travel to Slovenia for a friendly international. The Czechs' World Cup qualifying campaign resumes next month, with a home game against Finland.

08-02-2005