Iker Casillas and Xavi: Prince of Asturias award

The joint candidature made up of Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez was one of two finalists for the Prince of Asturias Award for Sport that has been decided today in Oviedo.

Iker Casillas and Xavi: Prince of Asturias award

This award honours the athlete or institution that has set an example throughout their whole career or history. The joint bid of Casillas and Xavi was presented by FIFA president Joseph Blatter. The two Spain players went up against the International Paralympic Committee for the 2012 award. The jury, chaired by former tennis player Arantxa Sánchez Vicario announced this year’s winner at the Hotel de la Reconquista in Oviedo.

The award will be presented at the Teatro Campoamor in Oviedo on Friday 26 October. Casillas and Xavi will again step on the blue carpet just two years later. A circumstance unprecedented in the history of the award. Already in 2010 the captains of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona were protagonists, with Vicente Del Bosque, when the Spanish National Team was awarded after being champions of the Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland and achieve the World Cup 2010.

Iker Casillas and Xavi Fernandez, friends and rivals since childhood, have an enviable track record having won all the possible titles. In addition, the captains of Real and Barca were key to redirect the strained relations between players of both clubs after the storm of Classics two years ago.

Asked about this award Iker Casillas said: "It's been a few years in which the Real Madrid - Barcelona rivalry has grown a lot, which I think is good for football, the sport and the fans, always in moderation of course. But that has also contributed to the Spanish national team. These have been the golden years hopefully it will be repeated, although it will be very difficult. It is an award for which we are the two prominent faces from each team, and from the national team because of being the captains. But it is a prize that there are many people behind: team-mates at our clubs and the national team, fans ... it's a very nice award to win and great to be receiving it".

Iker and Xavi have known each other for many years and goalkeeper recognised the good relationship that bonds them. "Football is a team sport that is always difficult to stand out individually, but there have been a lot of prizes and recognition. It’s a professional and personal relationship more than 15 years long. We have grown from being children to teenagers and now we have become men together. It is a reward I look at with a lot love and with many memories and many experiences and I think it's a cause for happiness"

Casillas has been with the Spanish team at Las Rozas Football City since Monday, which is where he learned the news. "We congratulated each other and our teammates have also received the news very well. I think that we are living in a very good point in history and a glorious period for Spanish clubs and the national team and I think this is award is also for the good work that Spanish football has done at both club level and national level in recent years"

Iker has always stood out for his saves on the field, but has never neglected the more personal side of things that happens off of the pitch: "I've always said. I would like to be remembered as Iker the person rather than Iker the good or bad goalkeeper. I think I have a very privileged life in general, I do what I like doing and a lot of people enjoy watching and you see that they are happy every time you win a title. It is an opportunity we have to take to be a role model for the fans and to give something back working in children’s training camps, working with NGOs and worthy causes. That’s why I set up my foundation a few months so that I can be more aware of things. As a society we are in debt and what better way than to give back than in this way using what we have got through football"

"I understand that it is difficult for people to understand the situation that we face as players. But we are people just like everyone else and all have our own worries. We have family and friends and they are all important" said Casillas about how to live with the problems of being a footballer as well as the worries of society. Finally, he joked about moment that he’ll receive the award, which will be the second time after the national team was also honoured for its development: "It's different. Xavi and I have spoken about it. Now we have give a speech, give words of thanks, the last time the coach Vicente del Bosque did that part and we were spectators. This time it will be different" he said.

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