Petr Cech: new dad
Petr Cech made back page headlines recently when he dedicated Chelsea's 1-0 victory over Everton to his wife, Marina and their new daughter, Adela, whose birth he'd missed because of the match. Dad Info talked exclusively to the Chelsea and Czech Republic goalkeeper about fatherhood and his new family.
Q. What kind of a man is your Dad?
He is very supportive - when we were growing up he would take us to many different sports events; football, ice-hockey, tennis, gymnastics. It was my father who first got me interested in football.
Q. What sort of a relationship do you have with your Dad?
It is good - we speak regularly. Because of my football I had to move away from home, but as I was growing up he was at every football match and every training session and he would always give me advice on how I could improve - he still gives me advice now - I call him after my games because my family watch all of them at home.
Q. What's your best childhood memory of being with your Dad?
Going to all the sports events - all the time we were watching lots of different sports. We would have competitions at home in the garden like athletics and he would make it fun for us.
Q. Has your relationship with your father influenced the way you want to be as a father yourself?
Yes, my father would never push us, he would always be supportive. If I said I didn’t want to do it anymore he would say that was OK and not push me.
Q. How old is your daughter now?
Adela is 6 weeks old.
Q. We hear you missed the birth itself because you had to be in the UK for a big game. How did you feel about that?
It was the best day of my life and at the same time the saddest. I was so happy that I was a father and so proud of my wife but I was upset that I missed the birth. But my daughter decided she was coming in the middle of the night and there was nothing I could do.
I was in Liverpool and if I could have got a flight back to the Czech Republic, I would have missed the birth anyway, so I just had to wait on the phone.
Q. Apparently you had little sleep once you got the call to say the baby was on the way. What emotions were you feeling as you waited for news?
My friend took my wife to the hospital, so I just had to wait until they called me to say everything was OK. But it was the middle of the night and I wanted to call everyone, family, friends - to tell them, but I couldn’t because of the time, so I just waited. The birth was fairly quick so it wasn’t so bad.
Q. So was your friend with your wife throughout the birth?
No - Martina decided that if I wasn’t with her at the birth then she didn’t want anyone in the labour room with her, so she was on her own.
Q.Weren't you exhausted on the pitch?
I was exhausted but I just wanted to play, I wanted to do it for my wife and my daughter, I was so proud of them both and I dedicated the win to them. After the game I got a flight straight away and was back in the Czech Republic with them that evening.
Q. How are the sleepless nights at the moment?
They are not so bad, we sleep for about 6 hours at night before she wakes up and needs feeding.
Q. Did you get any advice before the birth, and from whom? Friends? Family? Books? Classes?
We had a mid-wife so we went through what we were to do and how it would be - of course it is always better if you know more - as every birth and every labour is different, but more or less you can expect what to do.
Q. Is there anybody you can ask for help and advice now?
Of course I have my family, I can always call my family. I have some friends that are Dads which is good as they have experience and can always give you good advice. If I like a friend's parenting skills I always ask them for advice and I know a few people so it is good.
Q. Did you give your wife a present? What was it?
After our baby was born I bought my wife a ring as a present and a car because with the baby she needed a bigger car.
Q. What are your hopes for your daughter?
I hope she will be as happy as she is now and that she will be healthy – I don’t think you could ask for more than for them to be happy and healthy.
Q. What kind of a dad do you aspire to be?
I don’t want my kids doing whatever they want but I would like to give them the freedom they need. Of course you are the parent so you should educate your kids; I hope I will be firm enough to educate them well.
Q. What would you say if she decided to become a female footballer?
If she really wants to do this and nothing else, what can you say - you have to support her.
Q. If you had to pass on one piece of advice to an new father now, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid - fathers shouldn’t be afraid to babysit for 3 to 4 hours. If your baby cries, it is normal – babies cry! You shouldn’t be afraid to cuddle them, or be as affectionate to your baby as their Mum is.
It is clear in the beginning the baby needs the Mother more because they need food but it doesn’t mean that they are not happy cuddling with their Dad. This is my advice - spend as much time with your baby as you can.
Q. If you had to give your daughter one piece of advice what would it be?
To be respectful to people and to life.
Q. Would you like to have more children?
My wife and I want three children, so we have two more to go!