Petr Cech’s last match before retirement could be a Europa League final against former club Chelsea, an occasion he admits could be “too much” for him.
Goalkeeper Cech, 36, announced in January he planned to bring his distinguished career to a close at the end of the season.
His best years as a professional undoubtedly came at Chelsea, for whom he played from 2004 until 2015, winning 13 major trophies.
He left after losing his place to Thibaut Courtois, and while he is no longer first choice at Arsenal either, Cech has been used by Unai Emery en route to the Europa League semi-finals.
The Gunners face Valencia at Mestalla on Thursday 3-1 up from the first leg, while Chelsea contest the other semi at Stamford Bridge having drawn 1-1 away to Eintracht Frankfurt last week, and Cech acknowledges an emotional send-off appears realistic.
“Playing against Chelsea in the final looks a big possibility, with us in a good position and them having the second game at home,” Cech told The Daily Mail. “I don’t know if it’s a dream scenario.
“You have the last game of your career, a European final and then you have an emotional attachment to the opposition team, which probably is a bit too much. But if it happens, it happens.”
Should Arsenal get beyond Marcelino’s men, Cech will have the chance to feature in a fourth European final and second in the Europa League.
Cech’s biggest impact in those showpiece matches came in 2011-12 when denying Bayern Munich’s Ivica Olic in the penalty shoot-out that Chelsea won 4-3 to lift the Champions League trophy, though the former Czech Republic international prefers to not look back on such moments just yet.
“I’ve never seen the game,” he said. “I’ve seen a part of the shoot-out because my son was watching it.
“Then I was in a hotel with the team and there was a Champions League show on TV that went back to that game.
“I haven’t watched the 2008 final [when Chelsea lost to Manchester United] either. These are moments you watch when you stop. I like to live in the present.
“You need to find ways to improve the situation in the present, so I try to keep focused on it.
“I try not to look back, because I want to live in the present and make sure the present finishes as well as possible.
“The moment I stop, I’ll have time to sit back and look at my amazing journey. If when I started, someone had told me that 20 years later I’d be in this position with all the cups and records then I wouldn’t have believed it.”