Chelsea FC goalkeeper Petr Čech has been awarded the Golden Ball as the Czech Republic's player of the season for a record seventh time after topping a poll of journalists.
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Chelsea FC goalkeeper Petr Čech has been awarded the Golden Ball as the Czech Republic's player of the season for a record seventh time after topping a poll of journalists ahead of Arsenal FC's Tomáš Rosický.
Instrumental in leading Chelsea to Saturday's UEFA Champions League final in Munich as well as helping them lift the FA Cup, Čech has now received the honour one more time than Pavel Nedvěd. The Czech Republic keeper previously collected the trophy in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.
"I take this prize as an appreciation of my work," said Čech, addressing the ceremony from London as Chelsea prepare to face FC Bayern München at the weekend. "This year's award is as valuable to me as the previous ones. If you win something for the first time, you enjoy it a lot, but there is nothing more beautiful than defending something. I keep my performances on a stable level and this is why journalists vote for me."
Midfielder Rosický finished runner-up after a return to form for Arsenal this season, while Petr Jiráček – who joined VfL Wolfsburg from FC Viktoria Plzeň in January – came in third. FC Slovan Liberec forward Jiří Štajner took the prize as the top player in the Czech First League.