Football nearly cost him his life, but brave Petr Cech battled hard and made a name for himself in between the sticks. His acclaimed professional career that started with the Czech First League 20 years ago is set to come to an end in Arsenal colours at the Europa League final in Baku.
It was in October 2006 that a collision with the then Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt left Cech dealing with a fracture to his skill. It was a life-threating injury that forced him to step away from football for a bit.
But he came back to reclaim his throne as the first-choice goalkeeper for Chelsea and from then on, he wore a headgear to work which has become a symbol of his never-give-up attitude.
Cech is known for being a serial winner, a trait that was instilled in him by the person who helped him truly blossom into the goalkeeper that he is now. Jose Mourinho brought the Czech Republic international midway through the 2004-05 season and it took the player just a few months to claim the starting spot from Carlo Cudicini.
His playing career will come to a close with the Europa League final where his current team will take on his former team Chelsea, with whom he won the same trophy back in 2013. After several heroic stints in between the sticks for the Blues, he will look to end his career on a high by defeating them.
Cech is a level-headed individual with a calm demeanour and an excellent attitude. He is sure to remain in football even after he hangs his boots.
When he looks back on his trophy-laden career, the European success will definitely be distinctive. He kept out Arjen Robben's spot-kick and was in goal during the nervy shoot-out that followed in the final of the 2012 Champions League final held in Munich. He also featured in goal for Chelsea as they defeated Benfica to lift the Europa League a year later.
There is nothing left to prove for Cech as he prepares for the final chapter of his professional career. He has been an inspiring goalkeeper with a good head on his shoulders. His last chapter will be an emotional trip to Baku, but one that he will hope to conclude with his hands on the trophy.