Kiko Casilla is the man Spanish club side Real Madrid brought on to replace their longtime goalie Iker Casillas. Kiko worked his way hard to get to where he is, from his days at the Madrid reserve team to his fairly successful stint at Espanyol and return to his boyhood club. Let’s take a look at Kiko’s journey so far.
Kiko Casilla Biography and Profile
Early Life and Career
Kiko was born as Francisco Casilla Cortés on the 2nd of October, 1986, in Alcover, Tarragona, Catalonia. He has an older brother named José Antonio Casilla. Born on August 29, 1979, in Reus, Tarragona, Catalonia, Kiko’s brother is a professional volleyball player. He was part of the men’s Spanish national team that finished at 9th place at the 2000 Summer Olympics held in Sydney Australia.
Kiko loved to play football from when he was just a kid. As a young boy, he played for the local club Gimnàstic de Tarragona. At the age of 13, his skills had already attracted Real Madrid who brought him to play with the youth team.
For the next four years from 2000 to 2004, Kiko spent his time at the Madrid youth team developing his goalkeeping skills. Later in 2004, he was promoted to Madrid’s C team and then the Madrid Reserve side, also known as Real Madrid Castilla in 2006.
Stint with Espanyol
After getting the promotion to the Madrid reserve team, Kiko was looking forward to having more playtime, however, things didn’t go his way. He had hoped he would get more playtime after the departure of the first choice goalie, Cobeño, however, Cobeño would be replaced with Codina while his fellow Madrid youth graduate Antonio Adán was selected as the backup.
Kiko was frustrated by the mere 5 appearances he got to make for the team. Seeking more playing time, he agreed to join Espanyol’s reserve team on a free transfer. But things were not immediately rosy for Kiko at Espanyol, as the first choice spot wasn’t automatically handed to him.
His debut for Espanyol was in a La Liga away match against Real Valladolid in January 2008. The team’s first choice Carlos Kameni had been away on international duty so Iñaki Lafuente started the game, however, after picking up an injury just 2 minutes into the second half, Kiko came in as a substitute. Espanyol would lose the game at one goal to 2.
In that January transfer window, premier league side Arsenal expressed interest in Kiko but a deal was never agreed on. Kiko would continue to get little to no playing time as a result of the return of the team’s first choice and the arrival of the club’s new signing, Argentine Cristian Álvarez.
Kiko, still in 2008, joined Segunda Division B Cádiz on loan. He returned to Espanyol after his first season with the side but was again sent out on loan to Cartagena, another Segunda Division B team.
After returning from that loan, Kiko effectively battled for more playing time. Things were made even easier after Cristian Álvarez departed the team, making Kiko Casilla the de facto first-choice goalkeeper. Throughout his stay at Espanyol, Kiko made a total of 115 appearances from 2008 to 2015. In his last two seasons with the club, he made over 200 saves.
After Kiko became Espanyol’s first-choice keeper in the 2013/2014 season, many teams started picking interest in him and among them was Real Madrid who didn’t hesitate to request his services at the team.
Kiko Casilla joined Real Madrid on the 17th of July 2015 after inking a €6 million, 5-year contract with the side. Upon joining Madrid, he quickly won back-to-back UEFA Champions League titles, UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Kiko Casilla began playing for the Spain national team in 2005 as part of the U19 and later the U21. He was called to the senior team in August 2014 by manager Vicente del Bosque. He made his senior team debut in November 2014 in a friendly match against Germany. Kiko entered the game 14 minutes to stoppage time after being substituted for Iker Casillas.
Kiko is a married man. He is married to a certain Rosa Isern. Together, they share two kids – a daughter named Ainara and a son named Julen who was born in August 2016.
Kiko frequently posts cute snaps of his family on his Instagram page where he has over 2 million followers.
Height and Weight
Kiko stands at 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) tall which is one of his greatest strengths as a goalkeeper. He is often seen towering above defenses to claim crosses. Kiko weighs about 84 kg.