Iker Casillas is probably the greatest goalkeeper who ever played the round leather game. The living legend currently plays for Portuguese football giant FC Porto, but will always be best known for his incredible time with Spanish and European football giant Real Madrid, where he spent most of his playing time between the sticks of the 13-time European champion. He was also the captain of the impressive Spanish national team that dominated both Europe and the world a few years ago.
Iker Casillas Biography
Iker Casillas Fernández was born on May 20, 1981, in Móstolea, Madrid, Spain. His father, José Luis Casillas, worked in the Ministry of Education, while his mother, María del Carmen Fernández González, was a hairdresser. When Casillas was 9 years old, his father took him to an open trial at Real Madrid. The coaches were impressed with Casillas’ goalkeeping skills and accepted him. He then joined the youth system of Real Madrid, LA Fábrica, and was coached by Vicente del Bosque.
He spent 9 years in the youth team of Real Madrid, played for Real Madrid C and Real Madrid Castilla, the club’s B-team. When Casillas was 16 years old, he was called up to the first team for a UEFA Champions League game against Rosenberg on November 27, 1997, but was benched for the entire game. However, he made his senior team debut with Real Madrid in the 1990-2000 season, when he played against Athletic Club Bilbao in the La Liga at San Mamés on September 12, 1999. He made his UEFA Champions League debut three days later when Real Madrid played Olympiakos. At 18 years and 177 days, he also became the youngest goalkeeper ever to play in a UEFA Champions League match. The record has since been broken by Mile Svilar.
In the final of the UEFA Champions League match against Valencia in 2000, Casillas was in Real Madrid’s goal as the goalkeeper of the season’s first choice, César Sánchez, was injured. Real Madrid beat Valencia 3-0, giving Casillas the club’s first silverware and making him the youngest goalkeeper ever to play and win a UEFA Champions League final after just turning 19.
Since then, Casillas has won the Premier Club competition in Europe in 2002 and was the captain of Real Madrid’s team that won the La Decima in 2014. At the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, he was named captain of Real Madrid after the captain of the first choice, Raúl González, and the captain of the second choice, Guti, left the club. He remained captain of the club until his retirement in 2015.
At the beginning of 2013, the goalkeeper and then manager of Madrid injured himself. José Mourinho was quickly prepared to replace him with the newly signed Diego López. Casillas then made his first start against Galatasaray in a Champions League game after several months on the bench. Real Madrid’s new coach, Carlo Ancelotti, then decided to make Casillas his goalkeeper of choice in the UEFA Champions League, and Diego López kept his first place in the La Liga.
After leading Los Blancos to several national, continental, and international titles, Casillas decided to leave the Spanish club after several controversial seasons. On July 11, 2015, he signed with the Portuguese major club FC Porto and has remained with Porto to this day.
Iker Casillas International Career
Casillas debuted on June 3, 2000, at the age of 19 years and 14 days in the senior national team against Sweden. After an injury to Santiago Cañizares, the goalkeeper of Valencia at the time, he became the goalkeeper of choice for Spain at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. And after the 2002 World Cup, he secured his place as Spain’s number one goalkeeper in several tournaments.
Casillas became captain of his national team after Raul was eliminated from the Spanish squad at Euro 2008 in Poland and Switzerland. He led the team to the nation’s first major trophy when they defeated Germany in the final of the tournament with a goal to zero. That same year, his fantastic parade and impressive run earned him fourth place in the 2008 Ballon D’or. He was also named the best goalkeeper by the IFFHS.
In 2010 he became the third goalkeeper to captain the winner of the World Cup and also won the Golden Glove of the World Cup as the best goalkeeper at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He was once again a captain of the Spanish national team when it conquered Europe for the second year in a row after defeating Italy in the Euro 2012 final. Casillas only conceded a single goal in the entire tournament.
Family – Wife, Kids
Iker Casillas is married to the Spanish sports journalist Sara Carbonero. Sara was born on February 3, 1984, in Corral de Almaguer, Spain. The first encounter between her and the goalkeeper took place in South Africa, during the Confederations Cup 2009, in which Spain lost to a Neymar-inspired Brazil in the final. In the same year, they began to meet and were married on March 20, 2016, in Boadilla del Monte, Madrid. The couple has two children together, Martín and Lucas.
His family, therefore, includes his wife and two sons. Casillas also has a brother who is 7 years older than him. His name is Unai Casillas. Unai is also a footballer and has played for several Spanish clubs in the lower league.
The footballer has certainly experienced good times in his career, but he still sees himself in a different league as he seems to be gradually phasing out his goalkeeping career. Iker Casillas currently earns an annual salary of 7.5 million euros at FC Porto. His net assets amount to 40 million dollars.
Height, Weight and Other Facts
- Standing at 6 feet, 1 inch (1.85m) in height, the FC Porto keeper weighs 84kg which equals 185.1lbs.
- Casillas is the best player on the Spanish national team.
- He holds the record for the cleanest sheet in the UEFA Champions League.
- He is the player with the most appearances in the UEFA Champions League.
- First goalkeeper captain to win the UEFA European Championship.
- He has won all the major trophies for both the club and the country.
- The goalkeeper has over 1,000 professional captains, is the second-highest-paid European player of all time, and the second-highest-paid player of Real Madrid.
- He has the highest number of goalkeepers in the FIFpro World XI.
- At the Ballon d’Or 2008, Iker was fourth.
- He is the first player to have played in 20 UEFA Champions League campaigns.