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Čech: Why I swapped Chelsea for Arsenal

In his first media appointment since joining Arsenal FC, Petr Čech discussed Arsène Wenger and why he had to leave Chelsea FC, as difficult as the decision was.

Petr Čech in Arsenal colours at Petřín hill, Prague
Petr Čech in Arsenal colours at Petřín hill, Prague ©Ondřej Zlámal

Wearing Arsenal FC colours for the first time, Petr Čech held his first press conference since ending 11 years at Chelsea FC in the picturesque setting of Petřín hill, Prague. This is what he said.

Why Arsenal
In a way it completes the circle. When I was 20 and playing for Rennes in France, only a work permit problem prevented me from joining Arsenal. The club matches my personal ambition; they want to win trophies.

I spoke to Arsène Wenger and he played a big part. He gave me a project that is exactly what I want to be part of at this stage of my career. I know it's tough in a way for me and some Chelsea fans but I believe it was the right decision. I am far from finished.

Why he moved
Last season I realised how much I love playing football on a regular basis, how much I love being part of a team week, week out. My commitment and approach to football is the same as it was at the beginning of my career and I realised that this is not the time for me to go and sit on the bench.

When I did play I proved that I am still at the level required to play in the Premier League, the Champions League and the best games. I decided to make this move purely on football grounds. I want to have that feeling every week of being on the pitch, of winning games and trophies, and being part of a team. It's as simple as that.

Leaving Chelsea
It has been the hardest decision I have had to make. The manager [José Mourinho] made a decision which was probably hard for him [to make Thibaut Courtois his No1]; this time it was my turn to make the decision and it was very hard for me as I love the club. I really imagined that I would have finished my career at Chelsea.

The Rosický factor
I spoke to Tomáš Rosický because I wanted to know how things are going in the club. He was very positive and that has proved to be accurate judging from my first few days since the move.

Prospect of meeting Chelsea 
With Chelsea I played a lot of matches against Arsenal in various competitions. They were real battles that usually ended well for us. I just hope that from now on the tide will turn in Arsenal's favour.