Iker Casillas: I needed space to breathe

Iker Casillas: I needed space to breathe

Iker Casillas

Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has said he is enjoying his new challenge at Porto and had to leave Los Blancos because he felt overwhelmed by being under the spotlight.

The 34-year-old spent 25 years with the 10-time Champions League winners and is one of the club’s most decorated players.

But in the last couple of years he faced immense pressure and was blamed for a number of Real Madrid defeats. Some fans even began turning against the keeper, who captained the side to Champions League and Copa del Rey success in 2014.

Speaking to reporters about his summer switch, Casillas said: “There was a spell when I was getting a lot of criticism and I needed time away from that. I’m happy now and it shows on my face.

“It was a tough move, but for me this is a new experience with renewed feelings of excitement. The situation at Madrid was not the best; I was always the focus of attention, be it positive or negative, and I needed space to breathe.”

Despite leaving the club, Casillas is keeping a close eye on them and says he is impressed by what he has seen so far.

“They look good to me. They’ve reinforced the squad with some interesting players. We started off with a draw in Gijon, but that was just a question of the team gelling. Let’s hope they can continue doing as well as they did against Betis. They have to reduce that two-point gap, but not drive themselves crazy about it. There’s still a long way to go,” he commented.

And he added his aim now is to meet his former team mates in the Champions League final.

He stated: “There’s intrigue right from the group stage draw, I could tell as soon as I went out into the street. We can’t compete with the big teams but we’re going to try to put in a good campaign. I’d like to be in the Champions League final at San Siro with Porto and be up against Real Madrid.”

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Experienced journalist and online marketing professional. Most of his journalism career has been spent at the Press Association, the UK’s leading news agency, covering a wide range of topics including finance, general news, travel, sport and technology. He has also worked as a sports reporter for Non League Today and as a property reporter for the trade press in London. He is a regular contributor on a number of blogs about sports and marketing.