It's been a while since we've heard from former No. 1-turned-No. 2, all-around supermodel, and professional good guy Carlo Cudicini. This time, though, he's back with some less-than-good, if unsurprising, comments. You see, he says that Petr Cech is unlikely to follow in his footsteps in stepping down onto the bench. With so little time left in the summer window, any move is unlikely to come right now, but according to Cudicini:
"A goalkeeper of his calibre will try to win the No1 jersey back but if Courtois does his job well and keeps it, then I don’t think that Petr will stay. It might be in January, it might be the end of the year but I don’t see him staying. That’s my idea but I might be wrong."
I don't think any of us would begrudge Cech leaving for pastures new if the current state of affairs continues. Thibaut Courtois is probably going to continue as Chelsea's No. 1 keeper. He's done very well in his two matches so far, impressing almost everyone along the way. Of course, Carlo doesn't really have more than his own personal opinions to go on, or else this would have been a far-bigger story. That said, he does know Big Pete better than most.
"We’re good friends and recently went out for dinner together. I probably know how Petr is feeling but it is difficult to compare with my situation. The manager is the same and the ages of me and Petr were similar to the ages of Petr and Courtois. But Petr has been among the best three goalkeepers in the world for the last 10 years — he has won everything at Chelsea. Courtois is a young goalkeeper but he has already played in a Champions League Final and is a well-established player in his national team. You can’t really say one keeper is better than the other.
"They are both fantastic and similar in style. Mourinho made the right decision 10 years ago and I hope for the club it works out now."
Jose has a history of making gigantic, but ultimately-correct, goalkeeper decisions in his career. Ten years ago, of course, he dislodged the established Cudicini for the then-upstart Cech, with famous results. Later, he started a civil war at Real Madrid by dropping "Saint" Iker Casillas, who has since become a shell of his former self. Cudicini goes on to give some insight into the man's system of dealing with keepers:
"Mourinho would challenge me. He wanted to keep me on my toes and he also wanted to keep Petr on his toes. Maybe Petr performed fantastically well because I was right behind him and I kept pushing every single day in training. Petr could not make a wrong step because he knew I was right behind him.
"I knew I was highly respected by Mourinho. Although I was No2, I always ended up playing 12 or 13 games a year. That’s not common for a second goalkeeper.
"I played mainly cup games but Mourinho would also pick me for some Champions League games when Petr could have played. Things were different after Mourinho left and I ended up leaving.
"I feel for Petr on one side but I understand Jose’s decision. Knowing him personally, I know that he is very competitive. He now has 10 years of Premier League experience behind him and I’m pretty sure he will try to win his position back. But it’s difficult to say what will happen in the future. Ten years ago I decided to stay and I don’t regret it at all."
Of course, Cudicini believes, as do I, that Cech will leave eventually. He's probably too good a keeper not to want to find a new home. After ten years of fantastic service to the club, he has that right. Should he, however, decline to rage against the dying of the light, and go gently into the good night that is the Stamford Bridge bench, we can rest assured that he'll be treated well and with respect.
No matter what happens, or when, it will be for the best for the club and Petr Cech. We'll always have to remember that.