Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas is former national hero who became a scapegoat after his team were annihilated by the Netherlands in their opening game of the 2014 World Cup. Controversially, Spain’s coach Vicente Del Bosque wil start the team’s must-win game against Chile in the famed Maracana in Rio.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Casillas Began Struggling When Jose Mourinho Joined Real Madrid
His demise began during Jose Mourinho’s reign as Real Madrid coach. The arrogant Portuguese manager appeared to resent the status that Casillas held within the team and demoted him from first-choice goalie. Casillas was replaced in the team by Diego Lopez. Since then, Casillas has struggled to get back in the team on regular basis.
2. Casillas is a Spanish Soccer Legend
He has 155 Spanish appearances, the most of any other player. Casillas played most of those games as captain and in that role he’s lifted the World Cup and two European Championships. In addition to his glittering club career, he’s one of only three captains to lift the World Cup, European Championships and European Champions League.
3. He’s a Real Madrid God
For Real Madrid, Casillas holds Godlike status. He made his first appearance for the team when he was just 18, incredibly young for a goalkeeper. Since then, he’s put in nearly 500 games for the team. He’s won the national championship five times and the European Cup three times.
4. Casillas Has One Son With His Journalist Girlfriend
He’s in a long term relationship with journalist Sara Carbonero since 2009. They had their first child, a son, this past January.
5. Casillas is One of the Faces of Adidas Soccer
He wears Adidas predator soccer shoes and Adidas Response goalkeeping gloves. Prior to his move to Adidas in January 2012, he had long been the face of Reebok’s soccer equipment. In 2005, he was the face of the company’s famous I Am What I Am campaign.