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Cech out! Goalkeeping and drumming legend to hang up cap as clean sheet record-holder

Samir Nasri assisted on Declan Rice's winner as West Ham defeated Arsenal at home for the first time since November 2006.
Craig Burley says Arsenal's recent poor form was always expected, and the club have to respect Unai Emery's treatment of Mesut Ozil.

Petr Cech has announced that he intends to retire at the end of the season, calling time on his 20-year professional career.

The Arsenal goalkeeper, who turns 37 in May, confirmed his decision with a succinct statement posted on Twitter.

An undisputed Premier League legend of what already feels like a bit of a bygone era, Cech will bow out with records aplenty as well as four league titles, five FA Cups, a Champions League and a Europa League.

Here are but a few of the reasons we'll miss having him around the place.

Petr Cech will retire at the end of the season as one of the Premier League's greatest ever goalkeepers.

Peerless stats

Having comfortably beaten the previous record of 169, Cech became the first goalkeeper to reach 200 Premier League clean sheets after successfully keeping Newcastle at bay back in March 2018 -- a game in which he saved a penalty.

Since his debut Premier League season in 2004-05, Cech has made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the competition (1,136) and, of all the keepers to have made 500+ saves in total, he has the best shots-to-saves ratio (75.4 percent).

Cech also holds two official Guinness World Records, one for his clean sheets and the other for having won the most (four) Premier League Golden Glove awards.

The former Chelsea shot-stopper also holds a long-standing record for the fewest Premier League goals conceded in a season, having let just 15 slip past him in 2004-05.

On a related note, that was also the same season he set the record for the most clean sheets (24) in a single 38-game campaign. That's three more than the next best (Edwin van der Sar for Manchester United in 2008-09).

Trademark scrum cap

Cech has been forced to wear a protective cap since fracturing his skull in a collision with Reading winger Stephen Hunt in 2006.

It has since become an familiar piece of football headgear, despite the fact that Cech himself never really warmed to it.

As if to cement the cap's iconic nature, EA Sports included it in FIFA 19 to such an extent that Cech was seen conducting contract negotiations while wearing it along with a smart suit during cut-scenes.

The glitch was quickly fixed, but not before the whole thing became a source of instant viral mirth among fans on social media.

Awesome drumming

Away from football, Cech is an avid drummer and regularly shares videos of his progress via his own personal YouTube channel.

This has led Cech to provide percussion for the Czech Republic's official Euro 2016 tournament anthem as well as enjoying a one-on-one jam session with Roger Taylor from Queen.

Arsenal even formed a house band a Christmas or two back, with Cech on drums, Alexis Sanchez on keyboards and Nacho Monreal jangling along on the sleigh bells.

Not bad for a man who first learned to play by messing around while playing Rock Band on the Playstation with Carlo Cudicini.

Rap skills

Cech's musical virtuosity doesn't begin and end with drumming either. Why, he's also a highly inventive rapper too.

To avoid having to sing during his Arsenal initiation, the keeper instead chose to perform an improvised freestyle rap.

"I can't sing, so I kind of went into a rap song based on what I'd seen in the room," Cech said at the time.

"We did it during a dinner where people were sitting by the tables, so I was just going table by table and whatever came to my mind with the rhymes and a bit of funny lyrics.

"I just went through and did it. Everybody liked it, so that was good, and it actually saved them from listening to my singing."

Generally being an impressive human being and thoroughly nice chap

Cech's social media output repeatedly confirms what a decent guy he is, whether he be visiting sick children in the local hospital or volunteering to run the line at a Sunday League match.

We've also been treated to videos of Cech's intensive reflex training drills, which tend to involve having numerous table tennis balls catapulted at him at high velocity.

Then there's his support of worthy charities, which includes providing original artworks to be auctioned off to help raise funds.

Cech is also quite probably the only professional goalkeeper to have been immortalised in gingerbread form.

A fitting tribute to a true great. Here's wishing him the very best in whatever lies ahead.

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