The 37-year-old announced before the game that the final in Baku would signal the end of his 20-year career as a professional. But Cech was unable to finish on a high as Arsenal suffered a heavy defeat to his former club. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring early in the second half before Pedro doubled Chelsea’s lead, while Hazard sent Cech the wrong way from the penalty spot to put Maurizio Sarri’s side 3-0 up. Alex Iwobi scored a fantastic long-range goal to give the Gunners a lifeline but Hazard then struck against shortly after to seal Chelsea’s 4-1 win.
But as Chelsea celebrated, television cameras caught a brief moment with Cech who was on his own wiping tears from his eyes. ‘I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of the way I played today because when you play your last career game in the final there is a lot of pressure and speculation,’ Cech told BT Sport after the game. ‘I had to perform and I have to say I have done everything I can, and I can look back with no regrets apart from the fact we worked so hard all year to finish with nothing. ‘This group of players do not deserve it because of how much work has been done this season.
‘It is easy to say we finish empty-handed but I can assure everyone that the work we have done will mean this team comes back much stronger next year.’ Reports have claimed that Cech will return to Chelsea to take up a role as the club’s sporting director, but when asked about his future he replied: ‘I kept saying I wanted to lift the trophy and then think about it. Until 30 June, I am an Arsenal player.’