Out of the blue, Iker Casillas has seen himself confined to warming the bench at Porto. After two solid seasons, and good performances this campaign to secure clean sheets in seven of ten matches, he has fallen from the starting line-up. José Sá, a young Portuguese goalkeeper who is seen as the future custodian of the No.1 shirt for his country, has replaced him. Let’s say that Sá provides the solution in that position. Casillas also provides it, but he costs the club more. He signed for two years with Casillas himself in control of an option for a third year. Real Madrid bore half of the financial burden in the first two years, but not in the third. In the third year, the entire cost falls with Porto. And it is weighing them down.
Porto preoccupied with FFP
The first explanation, and the most reliable, is that the club are discretely pushing Casillas to the exterior. Porto are taking great care to comply with Financial Fair Play (PSG are the exception, because the relationship between PSG and Qatar has the seal of approval), and Casillas has a decisive weight as the club look to square off their accounts. And if, as appears to the case, in Sá they have a fine goalkeeper for the next ten years, why spend so much money on Casillas? Such is life. Casillas’ arrival invigorated Porto. He was the best goalkeeper of the last decade; a two-time European champion, a World Cup winner, and the captain of an all-conquering Real Madrid. It’s a blow to Porto’s pride. But these days…
Casillas treated badly by Mourinho at Madrid
These days, time and the transfer market are harsh. Suddenly, it turns out that Porto have Sá and that their balance sheet would look better if Casillas were to leave in January. Casillas recently harboured ambitions of a return to the national team, but he now finds himself in a difficult situation. He doesn’t deserve it. Nor did he deserve the treatment he received from José Mourinho after he showed will power to close old wounds with Xavi and Carles Puyol after the turbulent times around the ‘Storm of Clásicos’ (Barcelona and Real Madrid met four times in 18 days in 2011, with four red cards across those matches as the rivalry intensified). That cost him a fitting end to his Madrid career in the ugly times when Florentino Pérez was Mourinho’s hostage. That unpleasant exit took him to Porto, where he has now seen himself become a fly in the ointment. What a shame.