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Footballers who excelled at other sports (Part Two)

Continuing the series about footballers who excelled at other sports.

(For Part One please click here).

Petr Cech

As a boy growing up in the Czech Republic, Cech loved ice hockey and played it as a boy.

However, he was forced to choose between it and football when he was a  teenager and, having made his choice, could not play ice hockey again because of the risk of injury.

However, when he finally stopped playing with Arsenal  he came out of retirement to sign up with the ice hockey team Guildford Phoenix as a goal minder.

During the 2019 – 2020 campaign he played for them six times and picked up the man of the match award after his debut, which saw him pull off a number of excellent stops and then saved two penalties as Guildford won the match via a shoot-off.

At the same time, Cech was combining that with his role as technical and performance adviser back at his old club of Chelsea.

He opted not to renew his contract with Guildford because, despite having retired from football a year earlier, he was named in Chelsea’s 25 man squad for the 2020 – 2021 Premier League season.

However, he has since re-signed with the team.

Ivan Perišić

Yet, despite this, he has also found time to pursue his other love which is beach volleyball and was good enough to play for his country professionally. He took part of the 2017 FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) World Tour along with partner Niksa Dellorco.

Perišić is still very much involved wit football, having won the league title with Inter Milan last season and, during a loan spell with Bayern Munich, he won a domestic double and the Champions League as well. Capped 113 times by Croatia, and part of the side that played in the World Cup final in 2018, he has been linked with a move to Chelsea this summer.

However, they were handed a tough opening round tie against the Brazilian pair Alvaro Morais Filho and Saymon Barbosa, who went on to feature at the Olympics, and lost.

Had the pair progressed through to the next round, Perišić might have missed the start of pre-season training with Inter.

However, when the Italian club found out how he had been spending his summer they were less than impressed, with the prospect of him getting injured paying another sport something they were not prepared to accept, not least because it invalidated certain insurance policies that they had in place.

He was forced to scale back his volleyball activities, although he still plays it recreationally.

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