The man dubbed ‘San Iker’ by the Madrid faithful has won everything there is to win in the game, both domestically and internationally – and then some. European Championships, World Cups, La Ligas, Champions Leagues, Copas. You name it, the Spaniard has it.
Now whilst calling for his head -or rather hands – is fairly justifiable at the minute, anyone who suggests that Casillas had not played a major part in the success of both Spain and Real Madrid over the last twelve years is wrong.
On his day Casillas is one of the best in the world. Yes, he has short comings, but then so do all keepers – even the mighty Manuel Neuer, although he may disagree. The problem is that these days, Iker’s shortcomings are far and away the things on show and his once sublime shot stopping has faded into the distant past.
Both Spain and Real Madrid have seen it. Even his staunchest allies Marca have turned on him – and given his girlfriend writes for them, that is saying quite a lot. You cannot defend the indefensible and Casillas has become just that.
Many were shocked after his display at the World Cup, but La Liga watchers knew this had been coming for a while. We had seen glimpses of it. Jose Mourinho knew it, and replaced Casillas with Diego Lopez. Even Carlo Ancelotti did not install Casillas as his number one for league games. The error in the Champions League final should have cost the white half of Madrid La Decima. It was only thanks to Sergio Ramos that it did it not.
The Spanish press will tell you that Casillas has been told he will start the season as number one pick, despite both Diego Lopez and Keylor Navas being at the club. Now after Casillas’ latest pre-season display, that has been downgraded to starting the Super Cup and ‘then we will see.’ Well anyone who has ever asked their parents for more chocolate will know exactly what that means. Sorry Iker, say hello to your new best friend, the bench.
Keylor Navas had an excellent campaign for Levante, and would have netted the Zamora had it not been for the brilliant defence in front of eventual winner Thibaut Courtois. As you may imagine, Diego Simeone’s drilled back four made it far easier for Courtois than Navas’ did for him. He carried on his league form with a show stopping World Cup – including penalty heroics – and earned himself a move to Real Madrid.
That seemed to signal the departure of one of Casillas or Lopez, with the latter being firstly told he will receive a payoff and be allowed to leave the club on a free. Now that is not so certain. Lopez wants to play football, that is for sure, and Monaco are keen on taking him after their move for Victor Valdez fell through. Chelsea have also been linked with a swoop but unless Petr Cech leaves, a link up with Jose Mourinho once again is highly unlikely.
Should Lopez depart as expected, Casillas will of course remain, but with Navas officially unveiled as a Real Madrid player and his form showing no signs of returning to its former glory, the question of just what will happen to Iker Casillas next season is the one on everyone’s lips.
Real Madrid fans. What will happen to Casillas next season? Will he regain his form or is it curtains for the keeper? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.