Sportium paid tribute to Iker Casillas during an event titled: “Iker Casillas. Captain and Legend” held at LaLiga's Madrid's headquarters this evening. The Porto goalkeeper spoke about a number of topics such as the national team's chances at the World Cup, his old club Real Madrid and reaching 1,000 games as a professional. Manu Carreño was the master of ceremonies and put questions to the former Real Madrid and Spain captain.
On the mic
New challenge as a TV commentator: “I'll shortly be flying out to Mexico to try out something a little different for me. Commentating wasn't something I ever had in mind. But seeing as Julen didn't invite me along I'll be able to watch the World Cup finals as a viewer. I'll be with Jorge Valdano. It'll be a new experience for me”.
First official game with Real Madrid: “That was at the old San Mamés. I can also remember my last one, against Getafe, there was nothing for either of us to play for. I think it ended 6-3”.
Low-key send-off at Real Madrid compared to Iniesta's lavish farewell at Barcelona: “That was the situation at the time. I'm sure there will be a reconciliation in the future and there won't be any problems or bad feelings. Luckily, I'm still playing and I'm happy. I'm not on the front pages any more. I'm very happy for my fellow team mates and the send-off they are given”.
World Cup Russia: “I think Spain has enough potential to win another star on their shirt - you can see that just by watching them when they play. They remind me of the Spain side of a couple of years ago. They have a blend of highly experienced players like Sergio Ramos, Busquets, Iniesta, Silva… Everyone's on the same wavelength”.
Other candidates to win the trophy: “Germany have always done well in the final stages. We should also consider France, finalists in the last Euros. It would be a lack of respect to underestimate Messi's Argentina, Cristiano's Portugal and Neymar's Brazil. But for me, the favourite has to be Spain”
Another year in Portugal
Porto: “It was quite tough at the beginning - it's a process that you have to go through and I struggled at times. We've achieved something very important in winning the league. I think we've had quite a good year”.
Being on the subs' bench at Porto: “It's something I am getting used to, I don't know why I'm dropped occasionally. It's good to set yourself challenges to overcome. For me at my age, it's a good thing, because I enjoy competing. In the end I ended up feeling happy about being so stubborn. I'm not a coach, I can't think like a coach. The boss has always been very direct in his dealings with me, we're practically from the same generation. He's got a strong personality and has drawn out the best from the team”.
Contract extension: ”In a year's time, we'll see where we are. A big part of my decision to stay on was down to the fans. They gave me a lot of support”.
Hitting 1,000 games, where you aware of that milestone? “Now it's much easier to find out about these things. Reaching 1,000 games is very difficult. We have seen keepers who have remained in the game late in their careers - like Buffon, Cañizares, Palop.... If you enjoy what you do and you compete, you can make a lot of people happy".
Where do you see yourself at 40, as a goalkeeper or a commentator? “A goalkeeper. The commentary job is just to try something else”.
A job at home with Real Madrid
Returning to Real Madrid: “I can see myself going back to Real Madrid one day. Whenever I am home I go to the Bernabéu to cheer the team on. I don't know when I will return to the club. I started out there as a kid, I grew up there. I spent so much of my life there that everyone saw me grow up into a man. I'm still associated with Madrid. I'm sure I'll go back. How can you say no to Real Madrid? But right now I don't see myself taking up coaching or a backroom post”.
Best game of your career: “With the national team, the final at World Cup South Africa although the tie against Italy at the Euros, which was decided on penalties was also special. With Real Madrid, the 2000 Champions League final against Valencia when we won the Octava. In Portugal, winning at Estadio da Luz is similar feeling to beating Barcelona”.
Honours list: “I'd like to win the Champions League again, and maybe another World Cup. But I can't complain”.
Best save: "The one I made with my right foot in the final (to deny Robben in South Africa). With Madrid, the one I made in the final against Leverkusen".
Casillas feels for Karius
This year's Champions League and Liverpool's Loris Karius: "I'm happy for Madrid but as a goalkeeper myself I really felt for Karius - a fellow professional. I didn't enjoy seeing that happen to him. But sometimes you are lucky and other times, things just don't go your way… Benzema's goal unsettled him".
The best forward you have had to face: “The best is Messi. He has made me suffer so many times".
The best striker in your own team: “Cristiano just keeps getting better and better. It's crazy how he manages to do that".
Cristiano 'is' Madrid - Iker
Cristiano's comments after the final: “I saw that afterwards. For everything that others might say, he's always been here. Like Di Stéfano was the emblematic player for Madrid in the 50s and 60s, now Cristiano is on a par with Di Stéfano. I know him and he is very competitive. He is also a very affectionate guy and someone who is prepared to listen. I wouldn't change him for anything in the world, not even for Neymar. For me Cristiano is Real Madrid".
What means more, winning the Double or the Champions League? “For me, winning the double is an amazing feat. Real Madrid are European champions, but you cannot neglect the league. This isn't a criticism - but finishing 16 points behind the champions is way too much. Madrid showed that they are the kings of Europe in their favourite competition but being knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Leganés is painful on top of losing the league. Beating Liverpool made people forget about that”.
Where next after Porto? “Japan, with Iniesta. Just kidding!”.