The retiring Petr Cech was “proud” of the way he performed in his final match despite Arsenal crashing to a 4-1 Europa League final defeat to Chelsea.
Cech was denied a fairytale ending in Baku on Wednesday for his remarkable career that has spanned two decades.
The 37-year-old goalkeeper was selected ahead of Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal. He then gave fans a timely reminder of his quality by producing a series of impressive late saves.
But not even a four-time Premier League Golden Glove winner in Cech could spare Arsenal from defeat to his old club Chelsea.
Former Gunners striker Olivier Giroud put Chelsea ahead in the 49th-minute before Pedro slotted home Eden Hazard’s cross.
The Belgian winger then sent his old team-mate Cech the wrong way to score a penalty before restoring Chelsea’s three-goal advantage by scoring a second after substitute Alex Iwobi put one away for Arsenal.
Afterwards, Cech was caught in tears following the sad conclusion to his last career match.
Nonetheless, the Czech keeper remains proud of everything he’s achieved throughout his career and assured everyone Arsenal will be back stronger next season even without him.
“I’m proud of myself, obviously, I’m as well, proud of the way I played today,” Cech told BT Sport.
“When you play your career game in a final, there’s a lot of pressure, a lot of speculation and things about Chelsea. I had to perform and I can say I’ve done everything.
“I can look back and have no regrets about today apart from the fact we worked so hard in the whole year and in the end we have nothing.
“It’s something this group of players probably don’t deserve. The people who come every day, the supporters, they can’t see behind the scenes how much work has been done this season.
“It’s easy to say we have finished empty handed, no cup, we lost 4-1 but I can assure everybody that supports Arsenal that the work we have done this season will come [good] next season and this team will be much stronger.”
While he is expected to return to Chelsea in the summer in a sporting director role, Cech refused to discuss anything about his future.
“I’ve kept saying to everybody, I want to lift this trophy and then sit down and think. Until the 30th of June, I’m still an Arsenal player. People forget that” he said.
“Until that point, I won’t decide anything.”