Profile of Real Madrid Goalkeeper

Profile of Real Madrid Goalkeeper

It is unusual for a club to bring through a player they know will serve them with distinction for over a decade.

But Iker Casillas was one of those exceptional youngsters, a goalkeeper of such exceptional ability that he always looked destined to excel the Lionel Messi of goalkeepers, if you will.

Quick Facts:Name: Iker Casillas Fern Nationality: Spanish Date and Place of Birth: May 20, 1981 in Madrid, Spain Position: Goalkeeper Current Club: Real Madrid (La Liga) Previous Clubs: None International Career: 2000 to present

The Early Years: Casillas comes from Madrid’s working class, industrial satellite town of Mostoles and used to take the train to Real Madrid every day from the age of 12.

Outstanding for Real Madrid’s youth team, Casillas was even told at the age of just 16 that he was needed for the Champions League, if only to sit on the bench.

His top flight debut came in the 1998 99 season and he made the jersey his own the following campaign when he contributed to the club’s Champions League success.

Casillas lost his place in the first team to Cesar Sanchez during the 2001 02 season, but was called off the bench to replace Cesar 23 minutes from the end of that season Champions League final. He made several fine saves to keep Bayer Leverkusen at bay and help Real to a record ninth European Cup.

Multiple Titles: Ever modest, Casillas has gone on record as saying that he does not consider himself a galactico.

In a sense, he is right. Galacticos come and go, but Casillas started his career in Madrid, and will almost certainly end it there.

To accompany his two Champions League crowns, Casillas has won five La Liga titles, in 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2012.

Over the years he has regularly been the last line of defense for a club often guilty of stockpiling lavish attacking talent and ignoring deficiencies in the rearguard.

Saves such as the one against Sevilla in October 2009 have characterized his time at the club and saved his side numerous points over league seasons.

International Career: A winner of the FIFA under 20 World Cup in 1999, Casillas made his senior debut the following year.

Just as he benefited from Cesar’s injury to star in the 2002 Champions League final, fate smiled on him again the following month when Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares severed a tendon in bizarre fashion as he tried to control an aftershave bottle at his home. The injury left Casillas as his country’s number one and he was the hero in the second round penalty shoot out against Ireland before Spain bowed out in controversial style against South Korea in the quarter finals.

Casillas has played in three World Cups and three European Championships. Spain are the current holders of both competitions, with Casillas one of the pillars in both successes. Having made his debut at 19 years and 14 days, the boy from Mostoles is now the most capped Spanish player of all time.

Worlds Best Footballer 2010

Worlds Best Footballer 2010

When Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United for Real Madrid it had apparently left a gaping hole in Uniteds starting line up? Who would provide the goals, the papers said? United are finished they said, the start of the decline of Manchester United, they said. However, compared to the same point in the season last year, when Ronaldo still played at Old Trafford, they are now not only in contention for the Premier League and Champions League, but they have scored more goals in all competitions too. This is largely down to the form of one player, and that player is Englands Wayne Rooney.

Top Scorer in EuropeTop scorer in Europe, Rooney has bagged 25 goals in 33 games, placing him above his closest rivals, Barcelonas Lionel Messi and Valencias David Villa. With Ronaldo at the club, Rooney had the perfect partner. Together Rooney and Ronaldo tormented defences, the main reason behind Manchester United being a “war machine”, as Fabio Capello described the club. Although, Rooney was played deep, he was not in his favoured postion as a target man, up front. Quite simply, Rooney was not the main player in the team. He played in Ronaldos shadow to an extent, and he was forced out of position so Uniteds play could be primarily channelled through the Portuguese.

It is clear that Rooney flourishes as an out and out striker, and also as the main player in the team. It is no coincidence that since Ronaldo departed Old Trafford, Rooney is finally fully living up to his promise, a fact that bodes particularly well for England fans. In a world cup year, if England are to win the world cup, they will need Rooney to continue his world beating form in South Africa. And who is to say they couldnt. Rooney has shown that he is afraid of no defence. Against Milan in the 3 2 victory at the San Siro, he scored 2 goals. He menaced the Rossoneris defence the entire game and every time he had the ball, Milan were scared. With the help of Nani, Rooney destroyed Arsenal at the Emirates stadium earlier in the season.

Next Ballon dOr Holder and Fifa World Player of the Year?He has all of the attributes necessary to be up there with the greats of the modern game. He has an acutely accurate shot, he scores with his head, his link up play is second to none, he has blistering pace and strength on the ball and whats more, he is even often seen in defence breaking up play and starting attacks. And he has that hunger, the hunger to play every game, win every tournament, to galvanise his entire team to kick on.

Of course there are exceptional talents including Barcelonas Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, David Villa and Cesc Fabregas among others. However, can any of those players lay claim to virtually carrying a team for a half a season, with the exception of Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal? Rooney is driving Manchester United forward this season, as Fabregas is largely doing for Arsenal, though distinctly Fabregas is finding less success with the Gunners. If Manchester United can make it to a third Champions League final or even if England go far in this years world cup, Rooney could well be named as the winner of the next Ball dOr, FIFA World Player of the Year, European Golden Boot and any and every other individual player accolade in football.