Cech refuses to let broken finger affect return home
Petr Cech has revealed that he broke a finger by punching his Chelsea team-mate Gary Cahill in the head. It was during the Premier League defeat at Newcastle United on the Saturday before last and it was, of course, accidental, but mishaps have been a theme of Chelsea’s season and they feel particularly pronounced in the Czech Republic, where they face Sparta Prague in the Europa League last 32 first leg this evening.
Cech did not envisage an emotional return to his former club coming on European football’s undercard when he lifted the European Cup last May, having been a hero in the penalty shoot-out defeat of Bayern Munich. With the interim manager, Rafael Benitez, having made it plain that Champions League qualification is the absolute priority, while he bemoans an unforgiving schedule and an unbalanced squad, it is easy to imagine that Chelsea would desire a swift separation from an unwanted distraction. Cech does not see it that way, though.
Chelsea could become only the fifth club to complete the sweep of Europe’s main trophies, following Bayern, Ajax, Juventus and Barcelona (if you count the Fairs Cup, the Uefa Cup’s forerunner which the Catalan club won).
“It is an opportunity to make history, although it is history-making in a different way,” Cech said.
“The way I look at it is, if you win the Europa League, you can play the Super Cup,” Cech said. “We lost the Super Cup last August [4-1 to Atletico Madrid] and it was one of the low moments of the season.”
Cech left Sparta for Rennes in 2002 – his move to Chelsea came in 2004 – and has not since returned to face a Czech team. He said he needed 25 tickets for family and friends, and the broken little finger on his left hand was never going to keep him in London. He played on in the Newcastle game and also completed the 90 minutes of Saturday’s home win over Wigan.
“It’s broken and yes, it hurts. But I’ve managed to play with broken shoulders, nose and head and everything, so a little finger cannot stop me.”