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Petr Cech and His Journey

PetrCech had everything to fear in October 2006 because his life and football career were in jeopardy. The goalkeeper moved 83 kilometers to Sparta Prague before beginning his career at Chmel Blany. When he was 19 years old, he moved to Rennes. In 2004, he signed for Chelsea for £7 million, a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper. His true footballing gift landed him in the charm of the strutting Lords Street before he became an irreplaceable part of Jose Mourinho's unrelenting title chargers.

During Cech's third season at Chelsea, on that fateful autumn night, while Chelsea was playing Reading at the Madejski Stadium, his trophy-filled honeymoon in England ended abruptly and potentially fatal. Marcus Hahnemann, Royal's goalkeeper, walked the ball the length of the field just seconds after the game started. A busy and tenacious Irish winger, Stephen Hunt pursued the seemingly lost cause. Cech quickly rushed off his goal line to retrieve the ball, but Hunt slammed into the Czech star.

His knee brutally struck the shot-stopper's head. Cech was crushed to death on the grass, which signaled the beginning of a turbulent period that would plunge his life into deep uncertainty. The goalkeeper was taken to the Royal Berkshire hospital immediately after suffering a depressed skull fracture before being admitted to the Oxford Radcliffe Infirmary's specialized brain injury unit. He had emergency surgery at one in the morning to remove two broken pieces of his skull and replace them with metal plates.
He is sure he would not have survived the incident if it had occurred on a different ground from a hospital. He had narrowly averted the dreaded event, but the injury had rendered him weak and depleted. He observed that he could not recall anything that had occurred in the tunnel or during the handshakes before the game. He had no recollection of the subsequent three days.