Real Madrid has bid a classy and emotional farewell to a club legend as Iker Casillas was officially confirmed as dealt to FC Porto.
Casillas held a news conference at the Santiago Bernebau stadium Sunday morning where he teared up and said his goodbye to the club he spent 25 years with, winning 19 club trophies across every possible European competition.
“This goodbye evokes thousands of sensations and memories charged with hope, anticipation, sacrifice, strength and unique triumph,” Real Madrid wrote in the official news release of his departure. “Iker Casillas has made our coat of arms even greater. He has been our captain and has forged his legend here since he arrived as a child at just nine years of age.”
He first joined Real Madrid’s youth system in 1990 and never wavered, making his first-team debut in 1999 at 18 years old and finishing with 723 career appearances across all competitions. He won five La Liga titles, two Copa Del Reys, three Champions League titles, and a Club World Cup with Real Madrid. He became the most-capped goalkeeper in Champions League history back in 2011 and sits on 150 appearances in the competition.
The 34-year-old Spaniard was thought to be on his way out after years of speculation over his future which began when he lost his first-team place under Jose Mourinho after an injury in the 2012/13 season and the goalkeeper seemed to never fully recover. He would put in brilliant performances that reminded those of the old Iker Casillas, but became suddenly prone to maddening, game-changing mistakes.
“Thank you Iker, for everything you have done,” the Real Madrid news release wrote. “Thank you for being a symbol of the best in our history. You are going but we will never forget that you’ll always belong to the heart of Real Madrid.”
His place in the Spanish national team is unclear after this move to Porto. Casillas is the most-capped player in Spanish history with 162 appearances and is one of just three captains in history to lift the Champions League trophy, a European Championship, and a World Cup trophy.