After 14 seasons in the spotlight of being the first team keeper for Real Madrid, Iker Casillas might be looking for a bit of peace and quiet in the near future. Already a living legend for Real fans, Spain and for most football fans around the world, taking it easy in the final years of his career, like playing in the MLS, sounds very appealing to the captain for both club & country.
Iker Casillas has been the starting goalkeeper for Real Madrid since 1999, pretty much without any kind of break except for a short benching period during the 2001-2002 season. He’s appeared 647 times for the side in all competitions, winning 5 La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies. For the national team, he’s the most capped player of all time with 143 appearances, winning two European championships and the 2010 World Cup.
After a while, it wears you down, the pressure. His contract with the team runs out in 2017. Casillas feels that the pressure of being one of the faces for Real Madrid and under the expectations to always win – a match, every possible title and each and every Clasico might not be something he’ll want to deal with in the latter stages of his career.
I would like to retire with Madrid, but if the critics are fierce when I am 31, imagine what they will be like when I am 37. I would like to play out my football in the future in a more relaxed environment and if I have to play somewhere else then it would be for a team that would not come into direct competition with Real Madrid. For example, in the USA, which I love.
Nothing like a bit of relaxation while still playing in front of relatively big crowds (still not close to what he’s used to from the Bernabeu) while making a good deal of money. Casillas won’t be able to achieve that kind of tranquility by remaining in Europe, unless it’s for a role on the bench, which I’m not sure it is something he’s willing to take, even when he’s closer to his 40th birthday.
Casillas is often asked this season about his relationship with Jose Mourinho. It’s a known fact that while Mourinho is very popular with the Portuguese contingent in Real, a dominant one with Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe, he isn’t on the best of terms with Casillas and Sergio Ramos, who aren’t huge fans of Mourinho’s ways of handling things in front of the press and among the players. While Ramos has gone to a war of words over the newspapers with the manager, Casillas, the classy figure he always is, stays away from the drama.
He is very professional, very demanding. He finds out about every opponent, from Alcoyano in the cup to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. I cannot imagine a Real Madrid without Mourinho, he has said that he is planning for the next pre-season. I know nothing of his future, I have not spoken to him,. If the club asked him to extend his contract then it is because they want him to stay.