Chelsea legend Petr Cech admits he was “not happy at all” when the decision was taken to drop him behind Thibaut Courtois in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
The Czech goalkeeper had been the most reliable of last lines of defence for the Blues for 10 years prior to being asked to fill back-up duties.
Four Premier League titles and a Champions League crown had been collected in that time, with well over 450 appearances taken in.
Courtois’ potential was, however, to see him get the nod in 2014-15 after three productive seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid.
Cech was less than impressed at having to pass the gloves to the Belgium international, with an iconic figure eventually taking the decision to cross London and link up with Arsenal in 2015.
“I could see in pre-season how hard I was working. There was nothing obvious suggesting I wouldn’t be ready to keep my spot.
“But in a football team you can only have one goalkeeper playing every week, and unfortunately that was the way it went.
“Thibaut was regarded as the future of the club with all his potential and quality. I understood the choice was made, even if I didn’t think it was my time.
“Leaving Chelsea was the hardest decision I had to make.
“Having played for this club for such a long time, and becoming a big part of the history of the club, I always thought I was going to finish my career at Chelsea, or maybe leave for the last couple of years.
“At that moment I didn’t feel like it was like the last couple of years. That was not what I pictured in my head. But it was clear my journey had come to an end, and I decided I was going to go and try something else.”
Cech went on to spend four years with Arsenal before heading into retirement.
He is now in a position to look back fondly on his distinguished career, even if it was not all plain sailing at times.
Cech added: “When I look back, I’m happy for the good things, I’m obviously not happy with the things that didn’t go exactly as we wanted, but they played an important part, so I wouldn’t change a thing.
“It was a great journey. I really enjoyed it. If I had the chance, I would do it all over again.”