Being one of the best goalkeepers in the world and obviously one of the most popular doesn’t make Iker Casillas untouchable, or mistake-free in his form. But there’s a long road to go between criticism and some grand conspiracy to deny Iker Casillas the Ballon d’Or.
Raul Albiol of Real Madrid thinks there is one. That the media is out to help Messi or Ronaldo or Iniesta win the award, while Casillas, who captained Spain to their third consecutive major tournament trophy while winning his fifth league title with Real Madrid, is being left behind undeservedly.
Sometimes, criticism is just that – criticism. When a keeper as good as Casillas makes mistakes, it stand out it even more, when people are used to flawless performances at goal by now. Albiol thinks there’s something else going on.
When these types of criticisms are made, there is an objective. This campaign is to give those who choose the Ballon D’Or one problem less. It is clear that to win the award as a goalkeeper is very difficult but, if anyone can do, it is Iker. Last year, he won trophies with Spain and with Real Madrid. He had a great season.
Most of the criticism has come after conceding free kick goals from Aleksandr Kolarov of Manchester City in the Champions league and in the Clasico against Barcelona from Lionel Messi, for the second time this season, from pretty much the same spot. Could he have done better on those? Sure. Is it wrong for the media to point it out? Nope, because being more focused in that particular moment might have stopped a goal.
The most just thing would be to give a Ballon D’or to Cristiano, Messi, Iker and Iniesta too. There is only one, but many players would deserve it. A ‘keeper should have the same chance as an outfield player, and he has given a lot to Spanish football, the national team and Real Madrid.
Goalkeepers just don’t the attention that position players do, especially if their season is filled with incredible stats, like it has been for Messi and Ronaldo over the past few years. The only time a goalkeeper won the award was in 1963, to possibly the greatest of them all, at least in the old days – Lev Yashin.
I imagine that when he goes home it affect him, that is normal. He is always demanding of himself, and gets angry. He wants to stop everything. There is a lot of talk in the last weeks that he could have done more or less with different goals. It is normal that they expect a lot from him, but we know he is safe between the posts.
This reminds me of a Yashin quote: What kind of a goalkeeper is the one who is not tormented by the goal he has allowed? He must be tormented! And if he is calm, that means the end. No matter what he had in the past, he has no future.
There’s no campaign or conspiracy to deny Iker Casillas the title. He’s had better performances at goal than some of his matches early this season, but it’s simply the nature of the game to overlook goalkeepers and give the awards to players who do the flashy stuff. No great injustice will be done if Casillas doesn’t win the award.