Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has admitted a career-threatening injury in 2006 helped put his life into perspective. The 33-year-old Czech – who joined the Gunners in 2015 – suffered a fractured skull while playing for Chelsea against Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
The injury led some experts to suggest Cech would never play the game again. The goalkeeper ultimately missed three months of football, but never doubted he would return to the sport.
"There were a lot of people saying it was probably the end and that I would not play again," he told Arsenal Player. "You get so many people telling you that you should take time, you should take the whole year off and build up slowly to get back.
"I wanted to get back playing as this is what I enjoy the most and it was a challenge to prove to everyone that I don't need a whole year. It was a massive challenge for me because there were days when you just feel like it will never happen, it's not going well, you don't feel well and you think: 'OK, what am I going to do?'
"But then you had days where all the positive things came back and I was really happy with the way I did it. I enjoyed the rest of the season when I came back because it was kind of a bonus. Nobody expected me to play so I really enjoyed that because I played with less pressure as I was appreciating the fact that I was back."
Cech admitted the career-threatening incident proved to be a "learning experience" for him. "It brought a lot of things back into perspective as well. I know that I can do other things and I will probably be able to do different things," he said. "But you only discover that then, which is a positive because since then I've known that any day it can stop.
"You have to be ready for the plan B or plan C. It's quite a learning experience."