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  • Legendary Goalkeeper Iker Casillas Reflects On Glorious Career And The State Of Real Madrid

Legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas reflects on glorious career and the state of Real Madrid

Iker Casillas, an icon not only in the annals of Real Madrid but also on the international stage, remains one of the most celebrated goalkeepers in football history.

His enduring legacy is etched in the rich tapestry of both club and country, a testament to his indomitable spirit.

Debuting for Real Madrid in 1999, Casillas embarked on a journey that would yield three UEFA Champions League titles, three Club World Cups, and an illustrious collection of five La Liga trophies, to name but a few of his many accolades.

Speaking at the 'Festival dello Sport' event, expertly organized by Gazzetta dello Sport, the legendary custodian delved into a multitude of topics, revealing his thoughts on his storied tenure with the club and his perspectives on the contemporary Real Madrid under the astute guidance of coach Carlo Ancelotti.

The 42-year-old Casillas opened the conversation by extolling the significance of the famed El Clasico, a fixture steeped in tradition and intensity. Anticipation for the next clash is palpable, slated to unfold on 28 October at the hallowed Camp Nou in Barcelona.

"The Clasico is a unique match," Casillas mused. "When the La Liga calendar emerges, Real Madrid players eagerly scan for that pivotal clash against Barcelona. Every footballer aspires to partake in such a contest."

The seasoned goalkeeper then recollected some of his finest moments in the cauldron of the Clasico, a fixture in which he valiantly guarded the Real Madrid net on over 30 occasions during his illustrious career.

"My most cherished memory as a Real Madrid goalkeeper in the Clasico was the first one I participated in at the Bernabéu when I was just 18," Casillas recalled with a gleam in his eye. "We triumphed 3-0, an experience that remains indelibly etched in my memory."

However, not all Clasico memories were filled with elation, and Casillas candidly disclosed the two harrowing defeats against Barcelona that continue to resonate.

"The most excruciating moments were the 5-0 defeat in Barcelona and the 2-6 loss at our fortress," he admitted. "These defeats were etched in pain. Unfortunately, in 2011, we faced a quartet of Clasicos in quick succession during the semifinals of the Champions League, Copa del Rey, and La Liga. At that time, we were simply unprepared."

Eager to weigh in on the current Real Madrid side, the indisputable leaders in La Liga and their UEFA Champions League group, Casillas exuded praise for their resilience.

"Today's Real Madrid has prevailed in nearly every match they've contested. Their fortitude shines through, even amidst squad changes," he remarked.

Casillas reserved special admiration for the youthful dynamo, Jude Bellingham. "Jude Bellingham has rapidly evolved into a linchpin for Real Madrid. At just 20 years old, he's a phenomenon," Casillas lauded.

Reflecting on his own footballing idols, Casillas credited Peter Schmeichel's performances in the 1992 European Championship for his formative inspiration. He also held Gianluigi Buffon in high regard, with a nod to the Italian legend's enduring quality throughout his career.

Finally, the conversation veered towards the current goalkeeper situation at Real Madrid, with the club compelled to secure Kepa Arrizabalaga as a temporary solution following Thibaut Courtois' unfortunate ACL injury.

"Presently, Courtois stands as the premier goalkeeper, despite his battle with a serious injury. Nonetheless, I have a profound appreciation for Kepa, notwithstanding the constant comparisons with the Belgian. He's weathered considerable criticism, but in my eyes, he's performed admirably and serves as a commendable stand-in," Casillas concluded.

With his invaluable insights, Iker Casillas continues to cast his influence, leaving an indelible mark on the beautiful game.


Read More: Australia's Jackson Irvine amazed by Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham's remarkable rise (planetsport.com)

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