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Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas Fernández ; (born 20 May 1981 in Móstoles, Madrid) is a Spain association football Goalkeeper (association football) who plays for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid C.F. and the Spain national football team. Iker Casillas is currently first-choice goalkeeper for both club and country. As captain of the national side, Iker Casillas led a young Spanish team to their first European Championship in 44 years. Iker Casillas was ranked 4th in the 2008 Ballon d'Or, higher than any other goalkeeper in that year.

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Iker Casillas biography


Iker Casillas Fernández ; (born 20 May 1981 in Móstoles, Madrid) is a Spain association football Goalkeeper (association football) who plays for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid C.F. and the Spain national football team. Iker Casillas is currently first-choice goalkeeper for both club and country. As captain of the national side, Iker Casillas led a young Spanish team to their first European Championship in 44 years. Iker Casillas was ranked 4th in the 2008 Ballon d'Or, higher than any other goalkeeper in that year.

Real Madrid

Casillas is a product of Real Madrid's youth system, and started in the junior squad during the 1990–91 season, but it wasn't until the 1998–99 season that Iker Casillas debuted in the senior side, replacing Bodo Illgner, and was in Real's starting lineup the next season. In 2000, Iker Casillas became the youngest-ever goalkeeper to ever play in a Champions League final when Real Madrid defeated Valencia C.F. 3-0 just four days after Iker Casillas nineteenth birthday. Casillas has been voted the best goalkeeper for the 07-08 season.

Casillas lost Iker Casillas place in the side to backup César Sánchez after a patch of bad form during the 2001–02 campaign, but Sánchez suffered an injury in the last minutes of Madrid 2002 UEFA Champions League Final match. Casillas came on and pulled off several brilliant saves to deny a rampant Bayer Leverkusen the Champions League crown. The Whites won 2-1 and the twenty-year-old has maintained the number 1 shirt ever since.

During the 2007-08 season, Casillas helped Real Madrid to their 31st La Liga title and conceeded only 32 goals in 36 games to claim the Zamora Trophy. On 14 February 2008, Iker Casillas and club captain Raúl González Blanco were awarded new contract extentions. Casillas signed a contract extension that will keep Iker Casillas at the club until 2017, with an automatic extension if Iker Casillas plays 30 competitive matches during the final season of the contract and a buy-out clause of £128 million.

It was reported that Casillas's agent met with representatives from Manchester City F.C. but Iker Casillas flatly rejected it and pledged Iker Casillas loyalty to Iker Casillas hometown club. They had offered the goalkeeper £11 million per season, much more than Iker Casillas current salary, but Iker Casillas rejected it.

International career

Casillas debuted for the national team in the U–17 level. At age 16, Iker Casillas was the youngest player in the Spanish squad that placed third at the 1997 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Egypt. Two years later, Iker Casillas went on to win the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship. Iker Casillas won the UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup that same year.

Casillas is currently the second-most capped goalkeeper in the history of the Spanish national team, behind Andoni Zubizarreta, who appeared in 126 matches. Following Iker Casillas full international debut at the senior level against Sweden national football team (at 19 years and 14 days), Casillas was an unused substitute at Euro 2000. Iker Casillas was part of the roster for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, initially as the understudy to Santiago Cañizares. Coincidentally, Casillas became the first-choice goalkeeper when Cañizares had to withdraw from the tournament due to injury from a freak accident. At 21, Iker Casillas was one of the youngest first-choice goalkeepers in the tournament. Iker Casillas gained hero status when Iker Casillas saved two penalties in the penalty shoot-out during the round of 16 match against the Republic of Ireland national football team.

Casillas played in all eight Group six fixtures during Euro 2004 qualifying, conceding just four goals. Iker Casillas kept a clean sheet in both legs of the playoff victory against Norway national football team, and started all of Spain's Euro 2004 matches. Iker Casillas was first choice for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, captaining the team twice.

With the exclusion of Real Madrid teammate Raúl González from the squad for Euro 2008, Casillas was given the captain's armband. Iker Casillas started the first two Euro 2008 UEFA Euro 2008 Group D games against Russia national football team and Sweden before being rested in place of second-choice goalkeeper José Manuel Reina for Spain's group stage elimination of Greece national football team. Casillas saved two penalties from Antonio Di Natale and Daniele De Rossi as Spain eliminated Italy national football team in the quarterfinals with a 4–2 shootout win following a goalless draw on 22 June. Spain later went on to win the competition with a 1–0 win over Germany in the UEFA Euro 2008 Final on 29 June; Casillas kept clean sheets for the quarterfinal, semifinal, and final matches, with Sweden's first round goal by Zlatan Ibrahimović being the last one scored against him. In Iker Casillas 82 appearances for Spain, Iker Casillas has kept 42 clean sheets. On 29 June 2008 Casillas became the first goalkeeper-captain to lift the UEFA European Championship trophy when Spain beat Germany 1–0 in the final.

In October 2008, Casillas and deputy in goal José Manuel Reina broke the national record for the longest time spent without conceding a goal. The pair went unbeaten for 710 minutes, longer than the legendary Andoni Zubizarreta and Paco Buyo. Wesley Sonck of Belgium ended their goaless streak when Iker Casillas scored against them a 2010 World Cup qualifying match.

One of Iker Casillas saves during the quarterfinals versus South Korea during the 2002 FIFA World Cup was rated by FIFA as one of the top 10 saves of all time. Casillas was the highest ranked goalkeeper (4th place) in the 2008 Ballon d'Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and national teammate Fernando Torres.

Iker Casillas was named the world's best goalkeeper in 2008 by the IFFHS. Iker Casillas also came in third place in the best goalkeepers of all time ranking; beating Oliver Kahn.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iker_Casillas

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