He’s one of the greatest and most decorated goalkeepers of all-time, but Iker Casillas has decided to call time on his legendary 20-year professional career.
An icon for Real Madrid, Spain, and latterly Porto, Casillas cat-like reflexes helped him win it all – quite literally.
In celebration of ‘Saint Iker’, then, we’ve thrown together a few of his greatest hits.
Real Madrid suffered a pretty major blow ahead of the 2000 Champions League final, when first choice keeper Cesar Sanchez was ruled out through injury.
Little did they know, however, they were on the verge of something great. In came 19-year-old Casillas, who batted away Valencia at every turn, helping his side to a famous 3-0 victory.
To this day, he holds the record for youngest ever keeper to start a UCL final.
Casillas continued to battle with Sanchez over the next two seasons, but as you’d probably guessed, he eventually won.
The 2002 Champions League was the final nail in Sanchez’s coffin. Casillas started the final, and delivered a string of world class saves to keep a fearsome Bayer Leverkusen team at bay at Hampden Park.
That volley from Zinedine Zidane eventually won Real the game.
He would continue to develop throughout the 2000s, and by 2008, he was on top of the world. His imperious presence helped Real win La Liga for the 31st time in 2007/08, as he conceded just 32 goals to win the Zamora Trophy – which goes to the keeper with the lowest goals to games ratio.
He and Raúl earned ‘lifetime’ contracts as a result of a phenomenal season. Casillas’ ran for nine years, with the option of a tenth.
A couple of years later, he pulled off one of the best stops Spanish football has ever seen.
Sevilla’s Diego Perotti looked dead set to score as the ball was squared to him, but Casillas’ famous lightning-quick reactions allowed him to adjust his feet, sprint across goal and launch himself downwards in the blink of an eye.
The 2010 World Cup was one of the lowest scoring in modern history. That’s because Iker Casillas was there, and at his very best.
Now established as the best in the world, he captained Spain to a famous victory, keeping one of five clean sheets – the most any keeper has managed in the tournament’s history.
Casillas also played a major part in Spain winning both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012, the latter rounding off a remarkable four-year spell of international dominance.
The 2017/18 season was a significant one for a number of reasons. Now established with Porto – having left Real behind – Casillas equalled Ryan Giggs’ record of playing in 19 straight Champions League seasons, and helped Porto to their first league title since 2013.
He also played his 1,000th professional game against Belenenses – quite the legacy to leave behind.