Five key moments in Casillas’ career

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.

Think you know Spanish football? Play now!

Iker Casillas is a legend who has nothing else left to prove and should retire after heart scare


It only feels like yesterday when Iker Casillas replaced Cesar Sanchez in goal for Real Madrid in the final absorbing minutes of the 2002 Champions League final. Real were leading the game 2-1 against Germans Bayer Leverkusen but had a poor second half where Leverkusen created wave after waves of attacking football, the game seemed destined to end 2-2. But Casillas pulled off a string of fantastic saves and although he had made a cameo part in the final he emerged as a hero, saving the day for the club who went onto win their 9th European Cup.

From that day forward Casillas established himself as Real Madrid’s No.1. goalkeeper and would keep the job between the sticks for the next 13 years. In that time he won everything a player possibly could. As Madrid’s first choice he was also naturally Spain’s too, and was part of the most successful Spanish side in history.

Casillas has spent the last four seasons at Porto after his surprise move there took place in 2015, but it felt like the right time for him to be moving on. Recently though it came as shock news to learn that Casillas had suffered a heart attack, even if mild on the training pitch. It is not something which one fathoms about happening to a 37 year old elite athlete.

Casillas is fine, he is good and that is all that really matters at this stage. But he must be incredibly shaken up and also ask why this has happened to him? He has put on a brave face in front of the media but there is no doubt that tears have been shed and part of this isn’t because he has survived and is thankful. It is also a realisation that his football career is over. Of course nothing has been made official and if Casillas can continue all good to him. But he must be fearful in some respects and he must also have the ability to protect himself and his health. Yes his career is ending perhaps 3-4 years before he would have ideally liked, but at the same time doesn’t it make sense to hang up his boots?

What does Casillas have left to prove, he has literally won every trophy one could ask for. This includes 19 trophies for Real Madrid, 5 league titles and 2 Champions Leagues. He won the league in Portugal with Porto last season. There could yet be another title this season as Porto are just 2 points behind Benfica with 2 games left to play in what should be a thrilling end to the season.

And then there is the glory with Spain. Two European Championships and a World Cup, in an extraordinary four year period.

Perhaps Casillas needs to reflect on the utterly amazing career he has had, this dreadful attack did not happen when he was 27, but at 37, he has had a 95% career in football. Simply for his health and well being he should be dropping the football gloves for the microphone of punditry and saying goodbye to his playing days- remaining a legend in any football fans eyes.

Does Luke Shaw deserve the ‘Mourinho treatment’?

Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 20.23.27

The Special One. It would have to be Jose Mourinho christening himself with that moniker, because those within the game have something far more descriptive to call him, unrepeatable in this column.

The Portuguese has made more enemies than friends during his time in the game, but his relative success has allowed many of his failings to be masked.

Failings that he prefers to foist upon those players unlucky enough to get on his bad side. When all else fails, blame the players.

Continue reading

Spain doomed to repeat history as Del Bosque defends Casillas


There’s a saying, inspired by Madrid-born George Santayana, that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes, and it’s a message Vicente Del Bosque would do well to heed as Euro 2016 approaches. The coach is standing by Iker Casillas as Spain’s first-choice goalkeeper despite the excellent David De Gea waiting in the wings, suggesting he learned nothing from World Cup 2014.

La Roja went to Brazil as reigning world champions and left in short order with their tails between their legs. Del Bosque’s side were pedestrian from almost the very start of their trophy defence and their tournament was effectively over after 72 minutes against the Netherlands, when Robin van Persie scored his second goal, his team’s fifth, of what ended as a 5-1 rout. There was no going back.

Casillas was one of the villains of that painful day in Salvador, beaten first by a stunning van Persie header that he could only watch loop over him and into the net, then later failing to deal with a Wesley Sneijder free-kick before Stefan De Vrij converted it. He was then dispossessed by van Persie for the fourth goal and, though Casillas had made some outstanding saves, the mistakes counted for more.

The World Cup came after a season in which Casillas only played European and Copa del Rey football for Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti preferring Diego Lopez for La Liga. And Madrid did win both of those competitions, perhaps giving Del Bosque enough reason to keep faith in the leader of the generation that won two European Championships and a World Cup in four years.

But even then De Gea was breathing down Casillas’ neck, and there were calls for the Manchester United custodian to supplant the veteran. Del Bosque resisted and even after the World Cup humiliation, as midfielders Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso retired and David Villa was stood down, Casillas kept his place. He returned to the Madrid league XI the following season but it was his last at Santiago Bernabeu, a move to Porto bringing an end to an era at club level.

It still didn’t mean the end internationally, though. Del Bosque welcomed the move across Iberia and apparently took no notice that the player Madrid wanted to replace Casillas was De Gea and but for a dodgy fax machine he might well be wearing Madrid colours today. It appears only injury will give De Gea the No 1 shirt in France this summer.

Del Bosque maintained his defence of Casillas again this week after criticism of Casillas for a mistake that led to a Porto defeat, against Vitoria Guimaeres. ‘All goalkeepers make mistakes,’ Del Bosque pointed out in an interview with Cadena COPE. He’s right, of course. But having inadvertently paraphrased George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Del Bosque would do well to consider the inevitable next line: ‘Some make more mistakes than others.’

Iker Casillas’ Real Madrid legacy shattered by bitter dispute

Long-serving Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas finally ended his 25-year association with Los Blancos this summer, signing for Portuguese Liga side FC Porto on a two-year-old. The boyhood Castilian was understandably upset following to be leaving, shedding tears announcing the news at the press conference, but his legacy has become tarnished following a bitter dispute between club and player.

“Iker has put up with a great deal, he has suffered psychological pressure and they treated him differently to other players. I have watched him suffer for many years. It is Florentino who is pushing him out because he wanted to end his career at Real Madrid,” said his mother Mari Carmen.

Following his exit, Casillas’ representatives also suggested he was forced out of the club, something Real Madrid have always denied. Club president Florentino Perez gave a statement which said the veteran shot-stopper had the option to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the validity of his claims are questionable.

Casillas found himself in and out of the side in the last few years, with mistakes creeping into his game. His exit was expected, but the events that have since followed has been the biggest shock. Real were guilty of eyeing up goalkeepers – mainly Manchester United’s David De Gea – while Casillas was still at the club, and it didn’t go down well with the 34-year-old.

“I’ll be in this goal next season and I do not imagine leaving Real Madrid. I would hold off another goalkeeper because I am competitive. But there will never be a problem between myself and Real Madrid,” he said in May.

Casillas eventually found himself the target of abuse from supporters, and consistently criticised by pundits alike. Many were calling on him to preserve some dignity and leave, and he’s finally heeded their advice. However, comments made from his camp are doing little to get supporters on his side.

A five-time Spanish La Liga winner, boasting three Champions Leagues and a total of 19 trophies to his name, Casillas was an icon of Real Madrid. He was one of the most recognisable names attached to the club, and undoubtedly the best goalkeeper in their history. He should have left the Spanish giants as a legend, but instead has ended terms acrimoniously, with a bitter dispute between the two parties souring the relationship further.

Casillas should have left Real Madrid as a hero and outstanding servant, but now grows bitter at his former club, and words have been exchanged that will surely be regretted in the future. Where does he go from now?

Iker Casillas’ continual struggles will boost Real Madrid’s pursuit of Manchester United’s David De Gea

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas endured a miserable performance in the Champions League last-16 second leg clash against German Bundesliga side Schalke 04 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night. The Spaniards lost 4-3, with Casillas being culpable for at least two of the goals, and it will certainly reinforce Real’s need for a long-term replacement.

Schalke scored their opener after the long-serving shot-stopper managed to push a close range shot into his own net to gift a lead to the visitors. He spilled a number of shots and crosses in the 90 minutes against the Bundesliga outfit, and was singled out for criticism by ITV’s pundits covering the game.

The Spanish international, 33, has been out of form for more than two years now, returning from his country’s Euro 2012 triumph with his best form firmly behind him. Ever since, he’s struggled to reach previous heights between the sticks. Any other player would have been out the side, but Casillas’ reputation is perhaps keeping the club from permanently axing him.

But Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea is reportedly being lined up by Real Madrid, with the Spaniard having been outstanding between the sticks in the last 18 months for the Red Devils. At just 24, De Gea could have a decade of service still to offer, and has certainly shown enough quality to replace the Real ‘keeper.

Casillas has been a Real Madrid player his whole career, and has outlasted talented goalkeepers who have threaten to oust him from the starting lineup. Former manager Jose Mourinho dropped him in favour of ex-player Diego Lopez to the initial bemusement of many, but the writing was on the wall.

However, Mourinho’s successor Carlo Ancelotti reinstated Casillas, and the goalkeeper won the Champions League and Copa Del Rey last season. It was an error-strewn campaign, however, that saw the veteran gift a goal to Real’s Champions League final opponents too, and little has changed less than a season later.

De Gea’s asking price is unknown, but he is likely to set Real back in excess of £40M, with United having spent over £20M to sign him from Atletico Madrid in 2011. Money has never been an object for Los Blancos, and there’s no doubt De Gea will consider his future while United continue to struggle in the Premier League. Should Louis van Gaal’s side miss out on a Champions League spot, a move could be made sooner than anticipated. Real certainly need him as soon as possible, with how poor Casillas has been.