Given how long Real Madrid sought the club’s 10th European title, the decima’s emotional value was bound to transcend most Champions League crowns. While most players would still see that victory as failing to match the prestige of a World Cup, Iker Casillas was willing to challenge that notion after his team downed Atlético Madrid 4-1 in Lisbon.
Captain for club and country, Casillas experienced the joys of a world championship in 2010 with Spain. In both 2000 and 2002, the now 33-year-old goalkeeper won European titles with the Merengues.
That Casillas had to wait 12 years to experience a third title helped Saturday’s victory for club eclipse Spain’s win four years ago:
“This is bigger than being world champion,” Casillas told Canal Plus (as noted by Dermott Corrigan). “We have been waiting so long, had promised fans we’d win la decima.”
With a first half mistake on Diego Godín’s header, El Real’s captain nearly cost his team that 10th title. With a 93rd minute goal from Sergio Ramos, however, Real Madrid forced extra time, where Gareth Bale eventually produced the winner.
“Sometimes you make mistakes, sometimes you do well,” Casillas explained. “I cannot complain, as despite my mistake, we did it in end.”
Sure to be on Spain’s 23-man World Cup roster (to be named on Sunday), Casillas will get a chance at a second world title this summer. Based on his reaction to today’s win, Casillas is unlikely to see any win in Brazil as eclipsing the glory of his club’s 10th European title.