Tuesday 27 September 2016

Iker Casillas breaks down as he bids farewell to Real Madrid

Published 12/07/2015 | 16:16

Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas cries as he tries to read a statement at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid
Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas cries as he tries to read a statement at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid
Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas reacts during press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas pauses during press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu
Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas reacts as he tries to read a statement at Santiago Bernabeu
Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas reacts as he tries to read a statement at Santiago Bernabeu
Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas cries as he tries to read a statement at Santiago Bernabeu
Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas arrives to read a statement at Santiago Bernabeu
Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas reads a statement at Santiago Bernabeu
Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas arrives to read a statement at Santiago Bernabeu

Iker Casillas said an emotional goodbye to Real Madrid on Sunday as he prepared to move to Porto after 25 years at the Bernabeu.

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The goalkeeper joined Real's youth academy in 1990 and has been with the club ever since, making 725 appearances and winning 17 major honours in that time.

The 34-year-old was a high-profile casualty of Jose Mourinho's reign at Real but returned to the side after the Portuguese left for Chelsea, winning the Champions League for a third time in 2014.

His time at the club has now come to an end, though, and, in a tearful press conference, he paid tribute to all those at the club who had helped him through the years.

"After 25 years of defending the crest of the world's greatest football team, a difficult day has arrived in my sporting career," he said after fighting back the tears and prompting a rapturous round of applause from the gathered media. "It is time to say goodbye to this institution which has given me everything.

"It seems like only yesterday when as a nine-year-old I put on the Real Madrid jersey for the first time and my dream came true.

"During all this time we have suffered, laughed, cried and celebrated together. I have always felt supported and very loved, during both the good times as well as during bad times.

"This club has not only taught me to be an athlete, but it has also shaped me as a person, it has helped me grow, instilling in me the values its crest represents: respect, camaraderie, commitment and, above all else, humility. I have always tried to take these values with me wherever I've travelled to represent Real Madrid."

He added: "There's a phrase I've often used in interviews and I'm going to use again: above being remembered for being a good or a bad goalkeeper, all I would like is for people to remember me as a good person.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. I'll never be able to forget you and you can be sure that wherever I end up I'll continue to shout: Hala Madrid!"

Casillas also thanked the coaches, staff, players and fans that had been with him at Los Blancos but insisted he was excited by the new challenge presented to him after signing a two-year deal across the border.

"The decision to join Porto boils down to two important reasons: firstly, the excitement conveyed to me by the president, the director Antero (Henrique) and the manager Julen (Lopetegui), who I have known for some time and, above all else, by the whole team," he said.

"And secondly, for the affection shown to me since it more or less became known that Portugal was to be my destination. And in that respect, they have won me over and that makes me very happy.

"I will do my all not to let them down and will fight as hard as I can to win as many titles as possible with my new team.

"For that, thank you Porto for the faith you have shown me."

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