Iker Casillas bid his boyhood club, Real Madrid, goodbye today in an emotion-laden press conference. The Spaniard who spent 25years at the club, making 725 appearances and winning 17 major honours read a prepared statement to pressmen amid tears and incessant pauses. Casillas was not accompanied by any club official as he went through the conference alone.
In his statement, he thanked the fans, club and his family while also reflecting on his Odyssey with the club.
“First of all, thanks to everyone for coming here and for supporting me at this special time. I have come to this great stadium to say goodbye to everyone, and especially to all the Madridistas. Since yesterday I am no longer a Real Madrid player and I will now go to FC Porto. My decision to go to FC Porto was based on two factors — the enthusiasm that their club president, coach — who I know well — and the staff have transmitted to me.
“Secondly, the affection that I have received when people found out that my destination would be Portugal. I will do all I can not to let them down and I will try to win as many titles as possible with them. Thank you, FC Porto, for trusting me. After 25 years defending the emblem of the biggest club in the world, this is one of the hardest days of my life,” he said. “It feels like it was only yesterday when at the age of nine I wore for the first time Real’s jersey and my dream came true.
“During this time we have enjoyed ourselves, shed tears, happiness, laughter, I have felt loved. This club has not only taught me to be a sportsmen but also taught me human values, being, those of respect, camaraderie and humility.
“I have always tried to show all of them wherever I went. I want to acknowledge all of my former and current teammates — I leave a lot of friends behind me and I know that I will be always be able to count on them. I want to thank all of my coaches throughout my career, all of them. I have learned a lot from all of them. All my love to my family, who made sacrifices for me to pursue this hard but rewarding career,” Casillas said. “Also to my wife and my child, because they will always be there next to me.”