recent Iker moments…
We’ve also seen a lot of Iker lately, so I just wanted to highlight some of those moments…
La Sexta interview.
Iker recently gave an interview to La Sexta, which will be televising his charity game later this month. He was asked about a variety of topics, including of course José Mourinho, the cantera and the team’s current situation. The fun part came when he was asked about the nickname he gave to Mesut Özil and Karim Benzema’s underwear.
On the future: yes, I would like to play football not in a less frivolous or professional way, but in a more relaxed and different way. If I have to play football in another place, I have no doubt that I would not play for a team that would compete against Real Madrid; I have never considered that and I never will. (Where?) I would like to play in the U.S., since I think that’s a very different country, but these are not things to consider right now, but rather in four to five years time, since I still play for Real Madrid… I would love to retire at Real Madrid, but look at all the ferocious criticism I’m getting right now, at the age of 31, imagine what it’s going to be like when I’m 37. At best my reflexes won’t be like they are now.
Winning La Décima or catching up to Barcelona in the Liga? La Décima. I have no doubts. If you tell me right now that Barcelona is going to have a 25-point advantage over us and that we’re going to win La Décima, although that is not the correct image we want to have in such an important competition as the Liga, I would opt for La Décima.
On why Madrid has given up so many points: because the rivals come out gunning for Real Madrid. We realized that in the game against Sevilla, they ran and fought in the Pizjuán to win 1-0, they didn’t seem to be Sevilla. And 10 days ago, they lost to Valladolid 1-2. In addition to how they have played, Barcelona has been more fortunate, for example when they won 3-2 against Sevilla in the Pizjuán. Barcelona is hungry for titles after losing the Liga last season.
On whether the Liga is lost: unfortunately, I’m not 100 years old and I haven’t been watching Real Madrid for a century, but for the history, for what you’re told, and the legacy that we have, this is a club where they teach you to never give up. Five or six years ago, there were many comebacks when the Liga seemed to be over in March, when things were much more difficult than they are now. And we won it. We’re going to continue, we’re going to fight, not only for us, but also for those who support us.
On Mourinho: (Is he going to leave or stay?) I haven’t spoken with him about that, and I don’t know anything about that. But I believe that if the club has asked the míster to extend his contract for two more years, it must be because both sides are happy. (Can you imagine a Madrid without Mourinho next season?) Right now, no, I can’t imagine that. I believe he has also said that he’s already planning the pre-season and so I can’t imagine that. (Is the relationship between Florentino and Mourinho broken, like it has been reported?) No. I don’t know, but from what I’ve seen, no. (What is the best thing about Mourinho?) The best thing about Mourinho? How professional he is for this profession, because he’s very demanding, he’s constantly studying the rivals, whether it’s Alcoyano in the Copa or Bayern Munich in the Champions. What he doesn’t like is people talking behind his back, he always wants you to say it to his face. You can have arguments with him, but in the end he will thank you for saying it to his face and not behind his back. If you don’t like something, tell it to his face. If there’s something you don’t like about him, tell it to his face. (Is he the same person with all of you as he is with the media?) Hombre, he’s different, he’s different. The two are completely different. He takes a lot of pressure off of us, which is good. He is fierce, that’s for sure. (Your opinion on the plebiscito?) It’s a moment that will go down in history, for posterity.
On football clubs getting involved in politics, like Barcelona: I like the club that I’m in. It’s an inclusive and universal club that respects and understands the ideologies in every corner of this world, and in this way, it has greatness. To be sincere, I believe it would be bad for footballers and athletes, especially footballers, to mix sports and politics. Any opinion we have may be taken out of context, and can be raised in a national debate, and with all the social networks that there are, perhaps it would be better to keep our distance from these issues.
On whether he and his teammates talk about the economic crisis: of course we talk about it. Even though I’m a footballer and someone people recognize on TV as Iker Casillas, well Iker Casillas also has a family, Iker Casillas also has friends, Iker Casillas also knows people who are having a bad time of it.
On the cantera: I remember the Barcelona team of 11 or 12 years ago, when there were practically no canteranos on the team. It goes through cycles. Barcelona shouldn’t be boasting now about fielding 11 canteranos. Of course that’s the image they want to project now, but a few years ago, there were hardly any canteranos, just Puyol and Xavi and not many more, no? As for Madrid, of course I would like to see players from Madrid in the club, but Madrid is also an important club where the best players want to play and so of course they’re going to have to come from outside the club. Madrid has an impressive cantera with fantastic players in all corners of Spain and of the world. In this sense, we have no reason to envy any other club or cantera, because our players can be found all over the world.
On his personal life: it’s true that you have to pay a price for the situation. It’s hard for me to understand how people can harass you relentlessly, such as when you leave your house or take a walk, and you might not be happy at that moment, which happens to all of us. I also understand those people who take the photos, I’ve had run-ins with the paparazzi but I understand that it’s their job and they have to make a living, but I believe there should be limits, at least they should have to get permission to take photos in certain moments. But, you have to know how to handle it. Perhaps in this country, there aren’t as many strict regulations on the paparazzi as there are in other countries.
On social networks: for a long time I avoided social networks, but right now, in this time, it’s practically impossible to do so because it’s forced upon you. You have to be part of it whether you like it or not. You have to know how to use them, and you have to get used to them because it seems that at this moment, they’re more important than the Bible.
On nicknames: they call me melón, because as a kid I had a huge head. My head was bigger than my body, so that was the nickname I got stuck with. (You gave Özil the nickname besugo (sea bream); that’s quite mean.) Well, I called him that quite a few times, with affection of course, and he asked me what it meant. I told him to do a Google search to find out, so that he could find a photo of the fish. I say it with affection and he thought it was funny too so everything was fine. He knows many words in Spanish, but he’s very shy and he never wants to talk, I always scold him for that. He always has a difficult time speaking during press conferences or in the mixed zones, but he understands quite a lot and speaks well.
On Karim Benzema: (Karim Benzema told us four or five months ago that he had become something like the supplier of underwear for the entire team.) I make fun of him a lot. His underwear is glamorous. Those underwear catch your eye. They’re in a lot of bright colors, they don’t pass by unnoticed in the locker room. Karim Benzema is a courageous guy to wear that type of underwear.
On his teammates: you have better relationships with some than with others. Cristiano, Pepe and Fábio spend a lot of time together, which is logical since they all play for the Portuguese national team, and so when they return to Madrid they’re closer. Marcelo is a bit of the smile of the team, he goes from one group to another. Higuaín and Di María usually hang out with the Spaniards. It was difficult for Özil and Khedira in the beginning but they are adapting now and Sergio speaks a lot with Özil. Benzema as well, it was more complicated for him because he was very, very, very, very introverted. It was difficult for him because he was so shy. This team, or the team we’ve had in the last few years, is nothing like the team we had years ago. (Since you all are a family, would you go on vacation with Cristiano Ronaldo?) I would go on vacation with Cristiano, hombre, of course, as long as it’s all expenses paid. (And he invites you.) Of course!
On the Ballon d’Or: I think Vicente is deserving of the award, as is Mourinho. I believe it will come down to the them of them, hopefully both of them can win because I have a lot of appreciation for the two of them. (Choose one.) I can’t choose one, I know that only one can win but I can’t say. I see the míster each day, and with Vicente, three-fourths of that. (Have you given up your dream of being one of the three finalists?) I don’t know if it’s giving up a dream, but it’s good and needed for there to be goalkeepers on the list of finalists. I’m not saying this for myself, but for the rest of my colleagues. There are great goalkeepers who have had impressive seasons, and perhaps they’re never going to be recognized for their merits.
Partido x la Ilusión.
The fourth part of the La Sexta interview ended with Iker talking about the upcoming Partido x la Ilusión, saying that so far the confirmed attendees are Andy & Lucas, Emilio Butragueño, Fernando Hierro, Santiago Segura… Anyway, Iker presented the game on Dec. 14, supported by FP and his co-captains – Sergio, Pipa and Marcelo. The third edition of the charity game will be played at the Palacio de Deportes on Dec. 23, and Iker said the purpose of organizing such an event is to return to society a bit of what it has given him over the years. The proceeds will go towards helping young people at the risk of exclusion, just like in the previous year.
Check out Sergio’s hand…
With Pipa and Marcelo around, it was never going to be a boring event! They kept making each other laugh. Meanwhile, Sergio autographed copies of his book and Marcelo’s glasses caught Iker’s eye…
Iker was definitely the worst dressed out of the four.
And in a video shot by Real Madrid to promote the game, Iker wore this shirt, which instantly reminded me of Dexter’s “killing” shirt.
Speaking of videos, Iker posted this one of him training Doce. No, no, NO, no, sí!
The Hyundai clinic.
Last week, Iker participated in a football clinic sponsored by Hyundai in Boadilla del Monte. In addition to teaching the children football skills, he also answered their questions.
As always, the kids ask the best questions.
Would you play for another team? Hombre, right now, no, because Madrid is my club, my life and my home. If I had to play on another team, of course I would try and not be disloyal to Madrid. I would play outside of Spain, so I wouldn’t have to directly compete against Real Madrid.
Which is weighing heavier, the World Cup or the Champions League cup? Ufff, right now the Champions League cup, because Real Madrid has not won it for a long time. It’s an objective that all of us madridistas have in mind. We have won a Liga, the Copa del Rey two years ago, but the last time we won the Champions League was 10 years ago.
Does Mourinho seem like a nice guy to you? (Laughs) Yes. Yes, he’s nice, yes. What happens is that when he has to get angry, he gets angry. But as a person, he is nice.
What are you going to ask the Three Kings for? What am I going to ask the Three Kings for? A good question.
A Scalextric set. I would ask them to close the gap between us and those who are placed higher in the Liga, in this case Atlético and FC Barcelona. That’s my present for the short term.
Who are your best friends in football? I have many. I’ve met many people during my 13 years with Madrid. My best friends in football are Raúl, Morientes, Hierro, Guti and Roberto Carlos. On the current team, the ones I get along the best with are Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Arbeloa and Marcelo. In general, I get along with everyone, but you have more of a feeling with those you have known for longer.
Do you still go out with your friends from school? I have my friends from school, from my neighborhood and from my pueblo. As the song says, life remains the same. Since I’m a madrileño, my life is here.
He also got grilled by the kids, who asked him if Cristiano had ever scored a penalty on him. To that, Iker responded, “Cristiano has never scored one on me. I stop every shot of Cristiano’s.”
Did you notice Iker’s transformation from “Casillas” to “I. Casillas” to “Iker Casillas” over the past few seasons? I wonder if there’s any reason for that. We did find out why Iker wear his socks inside out recently though. During a promotional event with Philips, Iker revealed that he had received a letter from a gypsy in prison who told him to do that. He started doing that and things went so well for him that he continued the practice.
Iker won one of the special AS awards last week, and as such, he attended the awards ceremony.
And finally, the first (and it better not be the last – this gives us hope that it’s not) Christmas videos have appeared, and though this one is a bit wittier than those of seasons past, there is only one player appearance, and a brief one at that. The two captains, Felipe Reyes and Iker, appear at the very end of the videos to send the message that teamwork is good. They shot one version in Spanish and one in English, and I had to listen a couple of times to figure out what Iker was saying in English. Iker’s English, or lack of English, never fails to amuse me.