Real Madrid: The Legend of Goalkeeping Genius Iker Casillas

Dusan LucicCorrespondent IIFebruary 22, 2012

A baby was born almost 31 year ago on the 20th of May in Mostoles, Madrid. And this baby would later go on to revolutionise the term of modern goalkeeping. The baby is, of course, Iker Casillas.

Casillas started his career in the junior squad of Real Madrid's youth system in the 1990/91 season. Since then he has never looked back.

When Casillas was only 16, he was called up to the first-team match against Rosenborg in the Champions League. Sadly, he sat through the whole match. He made his senior team debut two years later, substituting Bodo Illgner. After only a couple of games, Casillas became the first-team goalkeeper.

A run of bad form resulted in losing his place in the first-team to Cesar Sanchez during the 2001-02 season, but Sanchez suffered an injury in 2002 Champions League final match. Once again, Casillas was called up to save the day. A string of incredible saves earned him the No. 1 shirt and since then no goalkeeper could challenge him for the starting spot in the team.

Canizares, the Spanish first-choice keeper, suffered an injury days before the 2002 World Cup and Casillas was awarded the starting spot between the posts. Ever since, Casillas has been the No. 1 goalkeeper for both his country and his club leading both to worldwide recognition.

On 14th February 2008, Real Madrid decided to award Casillas with a contract for life. A year later, when he was only 27, he became the club's most capped goalkeeper in history.

During the 2011/12 season, Casillas became the first and the only goalkeeper to win the IFFHS Best Goalkeeper Award four times. And on 22nd January 2012, he played his 600th match for Real Madrid.

Above all, he was voted five consecutive times for the UEFA Team of the Year. But the highlight of his career has to be leading his country to European Championship and later, World Cup glory.

Casillas still has at least five years at the top of the game, but it will be a truly sad day when he retires.

Thanks for reading!