FOOTBALL

Casillas: "Porto offered me something Real Madrid couldn't"

"I would have liked to have played for AC Milan with Maldini," confessed Carles Puyol, who joined Casillas at an event as LaLiga ambassadors.

Casillas: "Porto offered me something Real Madrid couldn't"
FRANCK FIFE AFP

Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol took part in an event organised by Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. The former players, both world champions with Spain in 2010, represented Spanish football at the event along with LaLiga president, Javier Tebas. The pair analysed the current state of the game and answered questions about their own careers.

Casillas: "Porto offerede me something that Madrid couldn't"

Changes in LaLiga: "The man behind those changes has been Javier Tebas. It hasn't been a gradual change but rather a gradual process. LaLiga has an exceptional level and is respected the world over".

Messi set to follow Cristiano in leaving LaLiga: "Starting out and finishing your career with the same club makes for a nice story but we never know when we might move to a different club. I changed clubs due to circumstances. Porto offered me something which Real Madrid couldn't, so I moved to a different league and country".

Playing in another country: "When you play for one of the best clubs in the world it's difficult to imagine yourself playing for another club. When you play for one club for practically the whole of your career, you realise a dream. During the past five years, at 35, I was open for something new".

"El Clásico lo veía como algo de otro planeta"

Casillas

Best Clásico: "The first one I played in which we won 3-0. For me, El Clásico was like something from another planet".

The Copa del Rey final against Barcelona: "It was very exciting and a great game".

Golden age with the national team: "What we experienced was a unique moment. We played knowing that we were secure at the back with Puyol at the helm. Our defence was impenetrable. I started out with Spain with Xavi in 2001, and by the time of the World Cup we had five captains in the side. We had five prominent players who had played together for several years - players like Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Puyol".

Goalkeepers' Ballon d'Or: "I'm really happy about that because now our position is being valued which is what we've always wanted. Goalkeepers continue doing their job, they can be a reference for their team and that work will be acknowledged. The rivalry we have had was positive and healthy".

Clásico without the fans: "Watching it at home is not quite as exciting as being at the ground. It's an unusual situation but hopefully we can return to normality, celebrate goals, shout and hug each like we did before but for now, we have to put health first".

Puyol: "As a culé, I didn't want Messi to leave"

Messi moving on like Cristiano: "As a culé I didn't want him to leave. Barcelona without Messi is unthinkable. But these things are part of football. He's motivated and we hope that he will compete as he's always done - and not just Barcelona fans but football lovers everywhere for the way he plays"

Playing in another league: "The curiosity is always there. I played for Barcelona which is my club and circumstances always worked out favourably for me. We were one of the top teams and being in first team enabled me to play against teams from other countries, English clubs. I've never hidden the fact that I would have liked to have played for AC Milan alongside Maldini. Now Milan are going through a difficult moment, but when I was playing, Milan were a brilliant side".

Best Clásico: "I made my Camp Nou debut in a Barça-Madrid that ended 2-2, but I think I'll stick with the 2-6. We had Guardiola and we started the season well and that game underlined the whole campaign. The previous year was worse when we lost 4-1".

Spain's golden age: "The World Cup final when Iker pulled off that save to deny Robben. We had seen him playing for Madrid. If we made the slightest mistake, Iker would be there to save the day. We were fortunate to play in a special generation. Iker was the captain but he would always listen to advice from others. If the team hadn't been united, it would have been difficult for us to achieve what we did".

"No he escondido nunca que me hubiese gustado jugar en el Milan con Maldini"

Puyol

Balón de Oro: "For me, playing during an era when there was Messi, Cristiano, Iker, Xavi... it's difficult to say who was the best. They always look at the number of goals scored. Messi and Cristiano were rivals at that moment - there was no let-up between them. I would have liked to see Xavi or Iniesta win it because they both did a huge job for the team".

Clásico without the fans: "It's a difficult situation for the whole country. I'm not keen on the idea of El Clásico without the fans, but I would rather see it played behind closed doors than not at all. First of all, we have to resolve the health issues which has a domino effect. Football is for the fans and is a game which is lived with passion".