Spain’s World Cup winning Captain was in Germany to collect the prize following a string of match saving performances in South Africa this summer, where Casillas only conceded two goals as his country tasted the success of footballs biggest prize for the first time in their history. The 29 year-old product of Los Blancos’ distinguished youth system, Casillas has written his name into Madrid and Spanish folklore after making his professional debut way back in 1999. Ever since, the goalkeeper with lightening reflexes has gone onto break many records at the Santiago Bernabeu, with his role against Valencia in the 2000 Champions League Final. He became the youngest player to ever play in a final in Europe’s premier competition remains a particular standout. It was four La Liga hauls, two European Cups, a World Cup and a European Championship winners medal that indefinitely made Casillas a symbolic symbol of the Spanish game.
Tuesday’s accolade only embellishes these sentiments and pronounces Casillas’ importance to both Spain and Madrid, if this was not already noticed. With over 400 appearances in a Whites jersey and 116 in a Spain shirt at a relatively young for a player between the sticks would it be wrong to say Casillas is the best goalkeeper in the world? In terms of statistics, major trophy hauls both internationally and domestically, not too many other shot stoppers can lay claim to Casillas’ legacy. Perhaps only Gianluca Buffon and Petr Cech in the modern day game could question Casillas being ahead of them in terms of talent, but the sheer impact Spain’s numero uno makes on and off the pitch, with his charity work, especially makes him a once in a generation footballer.
In David Beckham’s final season at the Bernabeu, many remember the Englishman’s gallant last third to the campaign (2006/07) where he was pivotal in the Whites title push. So, Ruud van Nistelrooy who was an instrumental goalscoring marksman. Nevertheless, some forgot the poignant part Casillas played in Madrid’s success. His, at times, individualistic battle against the attacking forays of the opposing side remained integral in Los Blancos grinding out invaluable wins after wins – a hallmark of the decade he has shone in the Bernabeu sun.
With records and accomplishments not wavering from his CV, Casillas will probably go onto be one of the most successful footballers in the history of the game.