• Premier League

Cech: I've nothing to fear from Courtois

ESPN staff
April 4, 2014
Petr Cech has conceded just one goal at Stamford Bridge in 2014 © Getty Images

Petr Cech says he has nothing to fear from the return of rising star and looming rival Thibaut Courtois to Chelsea.

The 21-year-old Belgian has been in outstanding form on loan at Atletico Madrid, being hailed as one of the best goalkeepers in the world by team-mates, and that has led to calls for his return to Stamford Bridge.

But Cech, the club's No.1 for a decade, insists more competition for his place would have little effect on him.

"If, on the first day of pre-season, Thibaut Courtois is here, he is here," Cech told the Daily Mail. "If he is not, he is not.

Thibaut Courtois is currently in the thick of a thrilling La Liga title race with Atletico Madrid © Getty Images

"It does not change anything. I will still have to do better than whoever else is here, to keep my place. It doesn't change anything for me. You could ask John Terry or Gary Cahill about the very promising French central defender bought by the club.

"If he comes back and he's better than me, credit to him, well done to him, but who knows? I'm not afraid. I'm not a fool to think I've been here 10 years and I'll be here another five, just because.

"I am not playing because my name is Petr Cech. I'm playing because I've been playing well and because the manager thinks it improves the team with me in goal. I've never had a manager who would just put me in the goal because everybody was used to seeing me there.

"Are you good? Are you not? I'm not crazy to think in another 10 years I will just be playing. There will come a day when somebody comes along who is better than me. That's it. But my everyday fight is to avoid that as long as I can. This is football life. Let's see."

Cech, whose Chelsea contract - like Courtois's - runs until 2016, added: "I will see what happens in two years. The moment I feel I'm not good enough to compete at the highest level I will stop, no matter if that's in one year or 10. I'm not giving myself any deadlines. I would like to continue."

Courtois would not be the first rival for Cech's place. "I had Carlo Cudicini behind me when I came here, the best goalkeeper in the Premier League at the time," he said. "When Ross Turnbull played for Middlesbrough he was a big English prospect and he really improved here.

"Hilario has always been ready to play, and you can see the difference at Fulham when Mark Schwarzer is not there. He has been absolutely brilliant for Middlesbrough and Fulham and I'm still playing. This has been really underestimated."

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