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problems & responses – part III

October 24, 2012

The problem/issue: recently, there has been a lot of criticism directed at Iker Casillas from the Spanish press, and some have even called it a campaign against Casillas.  Yes, against the man who is a serious contender for the Ballon d’Or this year, and who has brought multiple Champions League and Liga titles to Real Madrid and captained Spain to an unprecedented Eurocopa-World Cup-Eurocopa triple title.

The remedy: nothing other than Iker Casillas himself, who has responded with such class.  And the fact that we all know what has been said is more or less a bunch of mierda.

Hopefully Iker’s Instagram account will bring us as much joy as his Facebook!

I’ve followed Iker’s progression since he was 18, rode the metro to train, cried during every momentous occasion and had lots of fluffy hair.  More than a decade later, one of the things that I like best about him is that he has more or less remained the same person.  I am conscious that he can make a mistake once in a while, I don’t always agree with him and there are times when I wish he’d either speak up or be quiet, but there’s no one else I’d rather have in my net for Madrid and for Spain and captaining the teams than Iker.  That’s why it’s hard to see all the criticism that has been directed at him, after all that he has done for both club and country.

To give you an idea of what type of criticism he’s had to face, here is what he posted on his Facebook on Oct. 14 (he even received criticism for the time that he made the posting, as it appeared to be in the early hours of the morning, and for using Facebook to get his message out): “in the last few months, I’ve inadvertently been linked to various issues… such as if I don’t celebrate goals, it’s because I’m sad (the people who know me know that if I allow a goal and I believe I could have done more, I get annoyed), the other day it was about me not supporting my teammate Cristiano (I can’t admire his game more), another about if I was the informer and I leak things (at this point in my sporting life, and after 13 years in the biggest club in the world, it’s out of place.  I believe the sporting press knows me, but saying this… I think that’s opportunist).  Then another issue: if Mou and I don’t get along (if there’s anyone I respect above all others, it’s my coach who has returned the team to success).  What else?  Oh yes!  One that made me laugh: it was said that I have a Spanish flag hanging from my house (when it’s the house of my neighbor).  I hope and desire that things will improve, I assure you all that it’s what I want the most!”

He also made things clear earlier during an interview with COPE (have a listen here) where he responded to questions about these very issues.

on Cristiano vs. Messi: I choose Cristiano, it’s clear, because he’s a player that is contributing a lot every season and because I spend 24 hours a day with him, well not 24 hours, but every day with him and therefore I know what he’s like, how he trains, what he wants and what he wants to achieve.

on whether there’s a campaign against him: this is the situation.  When you’re at the top, people are always going to demand more from you.  I don’t think there was much I could have done against Messi’s goal, but any opinion expressed with respect can be accepted, so there’s no problem.

on why he doesn’t celebrate goals: because there are days.  It depends on the day.  A lot was said about the celebration two weeks ago, where there was an image that even surprised me, because it’s curious and peculiar… I can assure you that when Cristiano scored the third goal against City, I was very happy and content, what happened was that it was all inside of me.  If a camera had followed me during all 90 minutes of the game, you would have seen that my expression remained the same throughout and I didn’t express any joy.

on whether he was the informer who leaked the news about Sergio and the shirt: these are things that surprise you.  Perhaps for the position that I have in this club and with the national team, where I’m the captain, I know that there are many times when you have to bite your tongue and know that there are certain issues where you’re going to be named.  But I always do things with my ideas and with conviction.  Some will like it and others won’t.  I don’t have to think more about it.

on Falcao: I think he’s a great forward, but I assure you that both Pipa and Karim are great forwards as well, and we also have Morata who’s also going to be one for sure.

on Mourinho vs. Ramos: perhaps it’s our fault since the team and players are more tight-lipped compared to previous years, but everything is exaggerated, it’s passed on from one person to another and what emerges is not the truth.  (Whose side are you on?)  Whose side am I on?  On Sergio’s because you want to support a teammate who’s having a bad time.  On the míster’s side because he looks out for the team.  It’s not an issue of choosing sides, but rather supporting everyone equally… I don’t think it [Sergio’s absence against City] was a punishment, because if it were, as it has been said, he wouldn’t have played yesterday or the other day.  It’s not an issue of punishment.  It’s an issue about how today, there are many radio and television programs, newspapers, and they have to give an opinion on everything.

on Ballon d’Or voting: I don’t know if I can vote for myself, I know that I can vote for my own teammates on the national team.  But if I vote for myself, everyone is going to know and I don’t want any more attention on me [days later, it was revealed that Iker would be voting for Sergio, Cristiano and Xavi, in that order, and of course, that was criticized as well].

[Side note: on the subject of Iker and Sergio, they’re new neighbors in La Finca!  As you know, Iker purchased a house in the community a while back, and he and Sara have slowly been moving there over the past few months.  Sergio, meanwhile, recently put his house in La Moraleja up for sale, because he too has headed for La Finca, joining the likes of Mou, Kaká, Cristiano, Benzema, Di María, Coentrão, Callejón…  I heard that a relative of Sergio’s, fellow footballer José María Romero (his current team is Xerez) has a house there, and since he’s not using it, being based in Andalucía and all, he rented it to Sergio, completing the shift of the area to live from La Moraleja to La Finca in recent years.]

I also love that Iker’s teammates and colleagues have spoken up to defend him.  Raúl Albiol said “he’s the best in the world.  We’re very well covered with him in Real Madrid and on the national team along with Pepe Reina and Víctor Valdés.”  In an interview with EFE, he added “Iker has spent a lot of time showing he’s number one and he continues to be number one.”  Karim Benzema said Iker “is one of the best in the world in his position, he’s one of the greats, I have nothing more to say.”  Santi Cazorla’s take was “I think there’s no point in doubting these two players [David Villa is the other one] and there’s no reason to doubt them.”  Jordi Codina, when asked about this campaign against Iker, responded, “you’re kidding me!  Who wrote that?  It’s very easy to write ‘Iker allowed two goals’ and leave the byline blank.  It’s easy!  That’s a lie.  The image of him when you see him live is fantastic.  The ball [Leo Messi’s free kick] went in perfectly, Iker couldn’t do anything.  I don’t think I could have stopped it either.  I’ve seen all of Madrid’s games and I believe he’s done well.  He can make some mistakes, like everyone.  What happens is that we’re not used to it, because Iker usually is an 11 out of 10.  When he’s playing at 9.5, everyone asks what’s going on.  He’s also human and can make mistakes.”

Miguel Torres also called the criticism “unforgivable” and that “you have to respect a goalkeeper at his level and what he represents for el madridismo.  This debate is not going to last much longer.”  Xabi Alonso said some of the things that have been said about Iker are terrible, and that he sees Iker as he has always been, in that the criticism hasn’t affected him.  Meanwhile, David de Gea called Iker “the best goalkeeper in the world” and added “doubting Iker is doubting all goalkeepers.”  And Luis Aragonés was quite succinct: “the criticism is stupid.  Casillas is a great person, a great captain and a great footballer.  He doesn’t need to defend himself from the things that are being said, because they’re not true.”

The fans, meanwhile, have done their best to support Iker.  At the Vicente Calderón last week, when Spain took on France, there were chants of support, and in the game against Celta at the Bernabéu, Iker’s saves elicited the singing of “¡Iiiikerrrr, Iiiikerrrr!”  In an interview with Madrid’s web site, Iker admitted that this type of support embarrasses him because “I don’t like to be the center of attention, but I also understand that people want to show their support.  It’s always nice to have fans show you this type of affection.”

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. Pammie permalink
    October 24, 2012 15:04

    It’s sad that Iker became the target that gets blamed for the bad start into the season this time around, people seem to take him for granted.
    I just laugh and shake my head at people who want to buy a new goalkeeper. As if there are that many available who are on Iker’s top level.

    thanks for the interview translation!

    I wonder how many more will move into the La Finca area and if they all have bbqs in their gardens together. 😀

  2. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    October 24, 2012 15:21

    Only in Spanish media where the captain of your NT who saved and literally handed a win in final in world cup get criticized for letting couple of goals in games where his team won in the end.
    I joined Albiol words, there is a campaign about him because he is nominated for ballon d’or, what’s worse some of RM fans think the same, they are criticizing him all the time, the Messi FK, who everyone failed to notice, Messi in a video shown keep moving the ball checking the wall out until it suited him perfectly to score, where Iker stood -1% chance in saving, there is articles after Celta amazing save saying how Iker has gained fans confidence again, breaks my hearts,we fans who been supporting this club for long time, grew up with Iker growing up with us supporting this club, never ever question this man, he is our Iker, even he had a couple of mistakes or not, I am protective of him, I will save my criticism when it is actually in a game where he doesn’t save us to end up losing a title, I know it will never happen, so I won’t even say it.

    Iker is what madridismo is, he is getting hate for not voting for Cristano first in ballon d’or race, isn’t Ramos the best CB in the world, key in euro and key for RM? isn’t he our Ramos? soo if he is not showing his support to Cristano for this, isn’t he showing support to Ramos? isn’t Ramos part of our team?or just Cristano is?

    and isn’t Iker captain for both La Roja and RM! Imagine how hard this is for him! I loved what Mourinho said about him yesterday in press conference too! to add that list of quotes to defend iker ( words I never believe I ever would use, defend iker)

    • Konvict permalink
      November 6, 2012 01:33

      Nothing against Ramos because I like him but we all know who was more important last season. Even Iker acknowledged it in Cibeles when he took Cristiano around and made him stand on the railings for the fans´ support.

      • Sarah, Madrid permalink
        November 6, 2012 13:22

        Iker is voting as Capi of La Roja not Real Madrid, since we won Euro 2012, I can’t think of him voting to other than Spanish player at first place, he would be killed for not doing so, Ramos provide the perfect balance between a player who played a key role in winning Liga being one of key player for RM last season and also him being a key player with La Roja and scoring that penanka penalty.
        So Iker’s vote make total sense.

  3. Marie permalink
    October 24, 2012 15:34

    Oh Una, (this is not related to your post, sorry), I didn’t know you were writing again! I’ve been enduring my first heartbreak over the last two months and you have no idea how much I’ve missed your blog. The fifteen minute distraction is the best! I’m glad there are a few new posts. I’m glad you’re back, even if it’s not for long. 🙂

  4. anna permalink
    October 24, 2012 15:47

    he is such class, i’m glad to have him as captain ❤

  5. Jenny permalink
    October 24, 2012 18:55

    ¡Iiiikerrrr, Iiiikerrrr!

    I noticed that. I like it! He’d better get used to it. I scream it in my living room.

  6. Ida permalink
    October 24, 2012 22:58

    great post!

    i just really love this blog ❤

  7. @ulonghaz permalink
    October 25, 2012 02:48

    Thanks Una.
    Personally, I didn’t take the critics seriously because it was ridiculous. And I am not a stupid Madridista to let myself fed up by that awful media. I know Iker since 2002, and like you said, he’s still the same guy. And I adore him more every single day.

    I have my faith in Iker like I have done for years. And I know that Iker will answer all those stupid critics with saves, brilliant saves like he did in Celta and Dortmund last night.

    PS : And this is the main reason why I love your post, Una. You write what is in my heart.

    Hala Iker. Hala Madrid.

  8. All_In permalink
    October 25, 2012 04:12

    So great you’re back…if only for a bit!! una!! we need you!!

  9. October 25, 2012 08:14

    una, I don’t understand when you wrote “had lots of fluffy hair”-I may have not understood u, but did u actually grow style your hair like his?

    • unamadridista permalink*
      October 31, 2012 14:10

      I meant that back then, Iker had lots of fluffy hair, compared to now.

  10. Mia permalink
    October 25, 2012 18:40

    I am so happy to have you back!! glory!
    I have a question, I wonder how it´s possible for media to know who Iker voted for?

  11. October 25, 2012 20:42

    OMG OMG OMG UNAMADRIDISTA!

    how come I did not see the blog is back!!!!!!!! I had the subscription for notifications and I haven’t seen it, what did I miss, what did I miss!!!

    before I read through the after-comeback posts I have to say that I visited the blog to leave the comment under hasta luego post, to say that I really need to share the news of the newest Serhio Ramo Men’s Health photo session that I saw on tumblr, Dios Mio!

    so good to see the blog back, I cannot believe!!!!!!!

  12. Stella permalink
    October 26, 2012 00:24

    I am proud over Iker. I am sick of all the egoism that Cristiano must have. Iker vote for Sergio was good nothing wrong with that. If you are a teammate with Cristiano today you must say he is better than Messi and he is the best in the world other wise everyone get upset. I don’t like that and I hated this thing from the day we bought Cristiano. If it was like that in my football team I would be crazy and jealous over that person. This club have so many world class players so lets enjoy them and give them a vote and time to steal a little bit of Cristianos spotlight.

    I want to buy Sergions house, want to be neighbor to Mesut.

  13. October 26, 2012 09:21

    To me, Iker will always be the best capi that we have for now. I love him to bits. San Iker – may he play for us and stay our captain for a long, long time.

  14. jen permalink
    October 26, 2012 10:58

    How I miss the old days when this blog was updated on daily basis, but that’s life. Anyway, I love this post as the previous ones. A big thank you!

  15. rojafan permalink
    October 29, 2012 23:01

    I love that Iker voted for Sergio! Who else but his goalkeeper on both Real Madrid and La Roja understands how important Sergio’s role in defense is to both teams? He is a 2 time winner of the Castrol Index, and he has scored a number of winning goals for Real Madrid. Where does one find out all the captains’ votes? I’m curious who Cristiano voted for, because he was the captain of Portugal this year.

  16. October 30, 2012 00:39

    Thank you as always for your fantastic words. (Apologies for the delay in my comment, but I am actually in Spain right now and sometimes it is difficult to get on the internet.) Living in Madrid (if only for a few weeks), I am beginning to understand the difficulties that face the players of Real Madrid. They are constantly criticized (even by those that love them) and it must be so difficult. I have even more respect and admiration for the players now than before. And Iker, well, he’s the best.

  17. MissLadya permalink
    November 2, 2012 22:09

    I … I … I’m at a loss. I admit that I’m not a huge Iker fan–NOT because I don’t like him! Far from it! I think he’s so classy and awesome! It’s just that most of my time is spent ogling my German boys, which leaves me with little time to obsess over other players. So, I’m not a huge fan (more like a pleasantly-thrilled-to-know-him fan), but either I am way too blinded by my Samisut-mania to notice Iker’s so-caled faults, or all this anti-Iker sentiment is based on absolutely nothing. I suspect it’s the latter. Of all the players I’d anticipate would face a lot of heat from the press, Iker’s quite possibly the last. I mean, wtf?? Do they need reminding who they have to thank for Spain winning World Cup 2010? Yes, I fully credit Iker with that one because he saved what would have been a sure-fire goal from Robben with the TIP OF HIS BOOT. Why would you want to do away with, not just your country’s best goalkeeper, but the captain of the reigning Euro (2x) and World Cup (1x) champions?

  18. November 5, 2012 13:50

    People who criticize Iker must not see how fortunate Spain and RM are to have him.

    I do not idolise him religiously (but I do idolise him;-) and there are times when I do not agree with everything he says, but for God’s sake, there is no other player in the whole world that would be so respected wordlwide. Who would not like to have him on their team? Come on, the guy is a freaking legend and in his case the word “legend” is totally accurate unlike in case of one-season or one-match stars.

    I think among all the athletes that I’ve known and followed, I will miss him the most, when he retires. (I am still not over Kjetil Andre Aamondt and Hermann Maier retirement from skiing and look how many years have passed;-))

    Iker is simply the King,

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