Video: Spain's Iker Casillas asked an assistant referee to blow for time early out of 'respect' for Italy in Euro 2012 final
SPAIN’S captain Iker Casillas is not just a great goalkeeper and multiple champion, he is also a man with a heart and a sense of sportsmanship, it seems. He saw Italy were suffering at the end of the Euro 2012 final, and was moved to ask the referee to spare them.
Footage has emerged of Casillas, veteran of over 100 international victories with Spain, talking to an assistant referee at the death of Sunday's emphatic 4-0 victory over the Italians.
Italy were down to 10-men. Spain had just scored their fourth goal. The World and European champions were toying with their opponents. Even Fernando Torres had scored. Casillas had seen enough.
After attracting the official's attention he appealed to his better nature.
"Respect for the rival," he pleads. "Respect for Italy. It's 4-0, yes?"
It was an act of kindness. But a needless one.
Almost before the words were out of his mouth the referee had signalled the end of the three minutes of stoppage time and the end of Italy's suffering.
A firm handshake and a smile was then exchanged between the pair before Casillas joined his team-mates for their habitual end of tournament celebration with the trophy.
That caused the odd Italian tear to be shed on the pitch. Casillas, presumably, was there to lend a shoulder to cry on.