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Report: Toronto FC, LA Galaxy and New York City FC Want to Sign Iker Casillas

Peter Galindo@@GalindoPWFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2015

VALENCIA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 18: Iker Casillas of Real Madrid reacts during the La Liga match between Levante UD and Real Madrid at Ciutat de Valencia on October 18, 2014 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Updates from January 28, 2014

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has attracted interest from three MLS teams since he told the Wall Street Journal that he'd like to play in MLS.

According to Fichajes.net (h/t Spanish newspaper AS), the LA Galaxy, Toronto FC and New York City FC are keen on signing the World Cup winner. 

In order to pry Casillas out of Madrid, then one of the clubs would have to pay a fee of 6 million. Inside Spanish Football claims that the shot-stopper would command annual wages of about 6 million as well.

Jan 16, 2015; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore poses with a Toronto FC scarf at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

TFC has already forked out several million dollars to acquire Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco on designated-player deals. The Reds have two other DPs in Michael Bradley and Gilberto, so they would have to offload two of them in order to afford Casillas.

The Galaxy would also need to either sell one of their three designated players, or pay down Casillas with allocation money in order to sign him.

The club's current No. 1 goalkeeper, Jaime Penedo, has been solid, but he does take a few too many risks and is 33 years old. Surely if Casillas is interested in signing with LA, the Galaxy brass will jump at the opportunity.

NYCFC has just two designated players. Casillas' ex-Spain teammate, David Villa, and Frank Lampard occupy those slots. The expansion side is the only team of the three interested parties that can sign the Madridista without having to shake up its roster.

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However, the landscape of MLS is always changing. It's unlikely that Casillas will leave Madrid in January or even in the summer. If the Spain international decides to play in North America, there will be plenty of teams that will be chasing his signature.

Original Text

World Cup winner and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas told the Wall Street Journal that he is open to playing in the United States and Major League Soccer.

"I have no problem saying that I would like to play in the U.S.," said Casillas.

Casillas has been with the Galacticos for his entire career. He was developed in its youth academy and eventually earned a position as a starter. 

The Spanish international has won three Champions League titles, five La Liga trophies and the Copa del Rey twice with Real Madrid.

Casillas has won several trophies during his career, including the Champions League and World Cup.
Casillas has won several trophies during his career, including the Champions League and World Cup.Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Casillas was also the starting goalkeeper for a Spanish national team that won the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

The 33-year-old struggled at last summer's World Cup in Brazil. He split time with Diego Lopez until the ex-Valencia man was loaned to AC Milan. However, Casillas has become manager Carlo Ancelotti's No. 1 this season.

Casillas has started 28 matches for Real Madrid this campaign, guiding the club to the round of 16 in the Champions League and to the top of the table in La Liga. The shot-stopper is currently tied for second in clean sheets and has conceded just 14 goals, per Fox Soccer.

The Real Madrid legend has been in better form, but rumors about his future continue to emerge. The agent of Manchester United's David de Gea was asked about his client moving to Madrid. He told Spanish newspaper Marca (h/t ESPN FC) that "things can change every five minutes."

De Gea's United contract expires in 18 months, according to ESPN FC. This makes a potential move to the Spanish giant even more intriguing, especially with the timing of Casillas' wish to eventually play in America.

Both goalkeepers are mainstays in the Spain squad, but they have an icy relationship, according to El Confidencial (h/t Squawka). De Gea idolized Casillas as a youngster, but things are apparently fragile as the United shot-stopper is on the verge of replacing the Madridista as La Roja's No. 1.

De Gea apparently idolized Casillas as a youngster, but their relationship is rocky.
De Gea apparently idolized Casillas as a youngster, but their relationship is rocky.David Ramos/Getty Images

If De Gea is signed by Real Madrid, that would likely signal the end of Casillas' tenure. He has to compete with the aforementioned Navas, so that could be the impetus for a move to MLS. 

Assuming Casillas joins MLS, he would instantly become a marketable star and a designated player. His contributions with arguably the greatest national team in history, coupled with his Real Madrid success would make him one of the most recognizable MLS players since David Beckham.

Any team that needs defensive help would love to have Casillas for his ability, leadership and marketability. He's still a quality goalkeeper who can make an impact on an MLS team. 

The Philadelphia Union, who had three starting-caliber goalkeepers at one point, were the center of jokes as soon as the Casillas story broke:

Union Rumors @UnionRumors

Insert @PhilaUnion GK joke here ...... Spanish soccer star Iker Casillas interested in joining MLS http://t.co/X6xxr5ia5e

Whether it's the Union or any other club, Casillas would be an instant success in North America, should he choose to make the move across the Atlantic.

Peter Galindo covers MLS and U.S. soccer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @pgalindo16.

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