After 23 seasons and winning everything that can be won on the football pitch, Iker Casillas has announced that he is retiring from football. He will be remembered as one of the best goalkeepers of all time who managed to reach the top with Real Madrid and the Spanish national team.
In his career that lasted from the late 90′s, Casillas faced many ups and downs. We tried to take a look at the most important moments of his brilliant career between the goalposts.
1. Real Madrid debut
Casillas’ first appearance for the senior Real Madrid squad took place on September 12, 1999, against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames. The game ended 2-2 and the 18-year old keeper showed maturity, confidence and quality making many impressive saves. That was his first of 510 matches on the Madrid’s goal.
2. His first UEFA Champions League win
Casillas was only a substitute in Real Madrid’s Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen on May 15, 2002, but he was surprisingly called into action in the 68th minute after the injury to Cesar. The 20-year old entered the field and made a number of terrific saves to help his side hold their lead and win his first of three Champions League crowns with Los Blancos.
3. Winning EURO 2008 with Spain
After experiencing years of failure in knockout tournaments with the national team, Casillas become the hero of his nation with his performances in EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland. With his heroic saves in the quarter-final penalty shootout against Italy and the clean-sheets from that match until the final whistle of the tournament he was one of the leaders for La Roja, and key to winning the tournament. It also began their era of international dominance.
4. 2010 World Cup victory
Casillas kept four clean sheets and only conceded two goals in six games for Spain up until the FIFA World Cup final in 2010, but his best was reserved for the biggest stage. The Spaniard had an excellent display against the very aggressive Netherlands’ team, leading his team as a captain to their first ever World Cup title.
5. Surviving heart-attack
Playing for Porto, Casillas suffered a heart attack at the club’s training center on May 1, 2019. Two months after he returned to training and was named in the Porto 2019-2020 squad. A year later, in August 2020, he announced his retirement.
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