Iker Casillas, the best goalkeeper of Spanish history; the ‘Saint’ and captain of the most laureate national Spanish team, left Real Madrid after 25 years with 19 titles on his outstanding service sheet.
A legend that broke into tears when he bade farewell to the club and the supporters. He was alone and dishonoured by a club that had already showed his back to him despite the ridiculous patch of yesterday.
It was last Sunday that he dropped the first tears even before starting to read a speech where he expressed his gratitude and eternal fidelity to the club. As well, a wish of being remembered as a good person, which is something that had been called into question in his last years. Constantly and disdainfully.
He also broke into tears just exactly five years and a day ago. Nevertheless, these ones were served with a huge smile, full of happiness. Back then he lifted onto the sky of Johannesburg the first World Cup trophy for Spain. Then, as in many other times, his performance was decisive after saving two one-on-ones against Arjen Robben. The Saint of feline reflexes was already a legend.
But soccer has lack of memory, mainly when it is corrupted by money. Iker Casillas has abandoned Real Madrid, the club he started playing for at the age of nine, berated, humiliated by the tentacles of the president, Florentino Pérez, who tried without scruples to lay down the myth his miraculous saves had built. Mafia techniques were spread throughout a bunch of spokespersons who persevered in their pretending to try and turn the Saint evil.
And they succeeded … Iker Casillas was accused of being a mole, of not training accordingly, of not being a good captain, of betraying the club after joining the Spanish national team when the Spanish players of Real Madrid and Barcelona were in a constant fight. Of almost everything … so when Mourinho sat him on the bench, his confidence went dramatically down.
Thereafter, his mistakes were pointed exaggeratedly out and the supporters swapped the claps for irritating whistles. So painful for a clubman that also struggled to negotiate his move to Porto, tired of the stinky atmosphere he was breathing in his home, the Santiago Bernabéu.
Precisely at the same location was the re-edition of the farewell the club organised after the shameful first one, this time with Casillas, Pérez, all the trophies he conquered and the supporters. But the wound was already opened and Real Madrid embarrassed themselves in front of the world by their negligence when the time came to honour a legend.
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In this sense, it is relevant that some 2 000 supporters forced the club to open Bernabéu Stadium to say goodbye to their idol and requested Pérez to resign. However, what is really sad about this whole story is that it saves us space to talk about the great career of a goalkeeper who hid his weaknesses with a born skill: divine providence.
Iker Casillas left in our retina impossible hands and flying saves. Saves and performances that won games and titles since he started owning the goal when he was still beardless. As captain, he led Real Madrid and Spain by example. Not enough for Pérez, who never saw him like the stars he used to sign through chequebook power.
Now, kicked out by this injurious atmosphere, Casillas arrives at Porto, where he will try to regain the confidence he lost and show the world again that he is still a Saint able to create miracles.
By Antonio Aragon