Iker Casillas: Legendary Spanish Goalkeeper
|Full Name||Iker Casillas Fernández|
|Birthday||May 20, 1981|
|Birthplace||Móstoles, Madrid, Spain|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.85 m)|
|Club Career||Real Madrid (1999–2015), Porto (2015–2020)|
|International Career||Spain (2000–2016)|
|Major Honors||World Cup, 2 Euros, 3 Champions League, 5 La Liga titles|
Spanish former footballer Iker Casillas is known affectionately as "San Iker", a legendary goalkeeper considered one of the greatest of all time.
Early Life and Beginnings
Born in Móstoles, Madrid to José Luis Casillas and María del Carmen Fernández, Casillas started playing football at a very young age. He joined the youth academy of Real Madrid in 1990 when he was just 9 years old.
Casillas rose rapidly through the youth ranks at Real Madrid with his prodigious talent. He made his first-team debut for them on September 12, 1999 against Athletic Bilbao at the tender age of 18 years and 177 days. This made Casillas the youngest goalkeeper to ever play in the Spanish La Liga.
Rise to Stardom at Real Madrid
After his debut, Casillas became the undisputed first choice goalkeeper for Real Madrid. He went on to make over 700 appearances for Real Madrid and was instrumental to their dominance in the 2000s and 2010s.
During his 16 seasons with Real Madrid, Casillas won every major club honor including:
- 5 La Liga titles
- 2 Copa del Rey
- 3 UEFA Champions League
- 2 UEFA Super Cups
- 4 Supercopa de Espana
- 2 Intercontinental Cups
Some of the highlights of his illustrious Real Madrid career:
- Set the record for most appearances (725) by a Real Madrid player
- Keep 268 clean sheets, another club record
- Voted into UEFA Team of the Year 5 times
- Captained Real Madrid to La Decima, their 10th Champions League title
Casillas pulled off many sensational saves during his time at Real Madrid, earning him the nickname "Saint Iker". His reflexes, agility and leadership made him a fan favorite and a club legend.
International Glory with Spain
Casillas made his international debut for Spain‘s senior team in June 2000 against Sweden. He soon cemented his place as Spain‘s first-choice keeper.
Casillas captained Spain during their most successful period in history. He led them to victory in Euro 2008, ending their 44-year major title drought. Casillas also captained Spain to their first ever World Cup trophy in 2010.
Some major achievements as Spain‘s captain:
- Won Euro 2008 – named Player of the Tournament
- Won 2010 FIFA World Cup – won Golden Glove Award
- Won Euro 2012, becoming the first player to win 100 international matches
- Played 167 matches for Spain, a national record
- Kept 97 clean sheets, a European international record
His consistency and world-class performances made him one of the greatest goalkeepers in football history.
Individual and Record Honors
Some of the major individual awards and records won by Casillas:
- IFFHS World‘s Best Goalkeeper: 5 times (2008–2012)
- UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year: 5 times (2007–2015)
- La Liga‘s Best Goalkeeper Award: 2009–10 season
- World Cup Golden Glove: 2010
- World Cup Dream Team: 2010
- Euro Team of the Tournament: 2012
- Most international clean sheets: 97
Casillas set numerous goalkeeping records during his career at both club and country level. He was widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world during his prime.
Final Years at Porto and Legacy
After falling out of favor at Real Madrid, Casillas moved to FC Porto as a free agent in 2015. He continued to showcase his skills in Portugal, leading Porto to the 2015-16 league title.
In May 2019, Casillas suffered a heart attack but made a full recovery after undergoing surgery. He announced his retirement from professional football in August 2020 at the age of 39.
Casillas leaves behind an exceptional legacy as one of football‘s greatest ever goalkeepers. His skills, achievements and leadership inspire young keepers worldwide. Known for his sportsmanship, he is also respected as an ambassador of the game.