Iker Casillas: "The club was right to hire Mourinho"

Iker Casillas was the first Real Madrid player to appear in front of the media at the UCLA facilities. The captain, who joined the team at the Los Angeles pre-season meeting after winning the European Championship in Ukraine and Poland, spoke about Mourinho, who begins his third season at the club: “Until you meet him you don’t realise that he is nothing like what you read about him in the press. He is a committed manager and has got the best from every single player. The club was clearly right to hire him. He has a goal in mind and he feels at home here. We hope that lasts a long time”.

Iker Casillas attending a press conference at UCLA
Iker Casillas

The Real Madrid goalkeeper analysed the season that has just started and admitted that his team wants to win all the titles on offer: “We want to go one step further, as we have done over the last two seasons since Mourinho arrived. We want to strengthen the team and we have more responsibility, more experience and we want to win all the titles: the Spanish Super Cup, which is the first title up for grabs, defend the Spanish league title, the Spanish Cup and we want and hope to win the Champions League having not won it these past years".

Casillas is convinced that the squad is skilled enough and prepared to win the Tenth: “With the team we have, the players, the fans and the stadium, this team deserves the European Cup. The steps we are taking are the right ones and we have a young and very experienced team. Two years of experience are very useful. Winning it is not an obsession since we must concentrate on wining the first league match and then Super cup”.

The captain, as well as his teammates, is going to do everything in his power to win titles: “We have an established squad, with good players and more experience than two years ago. All the players are important and all of them will get an opportunity in the matches. The season is going to be very long, but I’m convinced that with the squad we have we can fight for all the titles”.

The goalkeeper praised his fellow defenders and highlighted Sergio Ramos’ evolution into a central defender: “I think that with Pepe, Sergio, Varane, Albiol, Arbeloa, Coentrão and Marcelo we don’t need any to bring in more defenders. Ramos last season was incredible. He has adapted extremely well to central defence and last season he was magnificent. We are happy to have discovered this central defender who brings a very important balance to the defence”.

When asked about the Madrid youth teams, the goalkeeper revealed his satisfaction at the good results they achieved last season and the work that is being carried out with the first team: “I’m very happy for Real Madrid Castilla, who gained promotion to the Liga Adelante, and also for Real Madrid C, who will play in the Second B Division. It will be very important for them and will help them to mature. This is extremely important for the future because they develop as players and become more mature. The youth teams are important for us”.

With regard to Barcelona and the possible rivalry between the two teams to win titles, Casillas stated: “In my mind it is very clear that Real Madrid has become stronger and taken important steps towards the future. We beat them in the Spanish Cup two years ago and beat them fairly in a difficult league that I think we deserved to win. My team and my players are the best in my opinion”.

When asked about the Ballon d’Or and his nomination to be awarded it, Casillas defended the importance of goalkeepers in football: “It always important for people to talk about you and goalkeepers always have a part to play in this game. I’m not a fan of when people say that football is a game that is just played with your feet. Defence is as important as the person making a pass or the person scoring a goal. We’ve got to look at things more fairly, although everyone is going to look at Cristiano and Messi, who are above everyone else. Spanish footballers are making more and more appearances on the nominee lists for these awards”.

Two other names also made an appearance: Kaká and Modric. With regard to the Brazilian, he stated: “We want to help him. It is important for us that a player of his stature is part of this squad. We want, as teammates and professionals, the best for him. He is an example for all of us”. About the possible signing of the Croatian, he added: “I know him and he’s a great player. He performed quite well at the European Championship and if Real Madrid and Mourinho think he will be a good signing for the club then there is a reason for that. The manager always has the good of the club in mind and if Modric can help us go that step further then he will be welcomed”.

Casillas also spoke about the encounter in Las Vegas against the Mexican outfit Santos Laguna: “We want people to enjoy themselves in a city that has a different atmosphere. We’ve come here to get ready, to prepare for the first title of the year and the first match in the League. Santos Laguna have already started their League and it’s not going to be easy. We saw that already against Benfica. They are going to try their best”.

Finally, when asked about the European Championship that he won with the Spanish national side, he shared his delight with that of the rest of the country: “When you win titles you think less about you and more about the people. I’ve been fortunate to win many titles with my club and country. Making those people happy makes it worthwhile. It is worthwhile having that ambition every year and the day I wake up without that drive I shouldn’t be here”.


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