This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
It has been confirmed that Petr Cech has joined ice hockey team Guildford Phoenix as a goaltender.
What’s the story?
The former Czech Republic international retired from football earlier this year, with his last game as a professional being the Europa League final in May. On that day, he was playing for Arsenal against Chelsea.
Since then, he has returned to Stamford Bridge as technical director and performance adviser, but he has now joined the second-tier British ice hockey side on a part-time basis, taking up the role as their third-choice goalkeeper.
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He said upon the announcement, “I hope I can help this young team achieve their goals. After 20 years of professional football, this is going to be a wonderful experience for me to play the game I loved to watch and play as a kid.”
Will it effect his work at Chelsea?
This news comes as a bit of a shock, but it is not the first time that a former footballer has taken up a different sport following their retirement from the beautiful game. In fact, their have been several high-profile sport switches.
One of the greatest defenders to ever grace a field, Paolo Maldini, tried his hand at tennis after hanging up his boots. He entered the Aspria Tennis Cup in 2017, an ATP Challenger event, but was unceremoniously thrashed in 42 minutes and two sets.
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Whilst not necessarily a professional, former Middlesbrough striker Fabrizio Ravanelli was a keen cyclist and regularly featured in Gran Fondos – which are long-distance cycle races for amateurs – and even had ambitions to win one, which is easier said than done.
Current Bayern Munich winger Ivan Perisic is a keen beach volleyball player, and even took part in a professional tournament in 2017. However, him and his partner Niksa Dell’Orco lost their first match in the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series.
Whilst it is not unusual for footballers to take on a new challenge, it is rare that they will do it when already in another job, especially one as fresh as Cech’s. Even Perisic’s beach volleyball competition was in June during the off-season in a year of no international tournament. Although the former Rennes shot-stopper has said that it will not stop him from doing his job in south-west London, it appears likely that he will only have one eye on the role as such.
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Even after a few short months, maybe he is questioning whether he should have taken up the role in SW6 at all.
He will be wished well as he embarks on his new venture, of course, but many will be hoping it does not have an effect on his ability to work effectively for the Blues.
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