5 greatest achievements of Iker Casillas' career

Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas is affectionately called 'King Iker' by his fans and teammates due to his exploits for club and country.

Widely regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers of the 21st century, the 38-year-old former Spain and Real Madrid captain suffered a heart attack early this year while training for his club Porto, and hasn't played professionally since.

In July, Casillas confirmed speculation about his intended retirement; the Spanish custodian is looking ahead to life beyond the playing arena. That brought the curtains down on a stellar 21-year playing career for club and country.

Casillas made his first team debut for his boyhood club Real Madrid in 1999-00. The then 19-year old became the youngest goalkeeper to win the Champions League that season when Madrid beat fellow LaLiga club Valencia in Paris.

The Madrid native would go on to win two more Champions League titles, five Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles, four Spanish Super Cup titles and two FIFA Club World Cup titles with the capital club. He later moved to Porto in 2015, where he won the 2017-18 Primera Liga title and the 2018 Portuguese Super Cup.

Here are 5 of Casillas' most notable achievements during his footballing career:

#1 2008 European Championships for Spain

Casillas leads Spain to their 1st European Championships title in 44 years
Casillas leads Spain to their 1st European Championships title in 44 years

Appointed captain of the Spanish team bound for the 2008 Euros in Austria and Switzerland, Casillas led his team out for the first time against Russia. In a five-goal affair in Innsbruck, David Villa's hat-trick put Spain on course for a comfortable win. Roman Pavlyuchenko denied Casillas a clean-sheet on his captaincy debut, but Spain ran out 4-1 winners.

Casillas starred in Spain's 2-1 win over Sweden in Innsbruck and sat out his team's third group game against Greece in Salzburg.

Back in the starting line-up for the quarterfinals, Casillas saved penalties from Antonio Di Natale and Daniele de Rossi as Spain beat Italy 4-2 in a penalty shootout following a goalless 90 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time. That marked Spain's first competitive victory over Italy in 88 years, since a 2-0 victory over their friendly neighbours at the 1920 Antwep Olympics.

Casillas kept two more clean sheets in the tournament, against Russia in the semis (3-0) and against Germany in the final (1-0), as Spain ended their 44-year wait for a European Championships title.

Also check out:La Liga Champions League Schedule Champions League table

#2 2010 FIFA World Cup

Casillas led Spain to their first ever World Cup title in 2010
Casillas led Spain to their first ever World Cup title in 2010

Captaining his side in a competitive tournament for the third time (2008 Euros, 2009 Confederations Cup), Casillas and Spain started the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa on the wrong note as the Euro champions fell to a 0-1 defeat to Switzerland in Durban.

Both Spain and Casillas improved massively in the subsequent games, as a 2-0 win over Honduras in Port Elizabeth and a 2-1 win over Chile in Pretoria carried them to the knockout rounds - where they wouldn't concede a goal in four games.

Successive solitary goal wins over Portugal, Paraguay and Germany carried Spain to their first-ever World Cup final, where they beat Netherlands 1-0 after extra-time in Johannesburg. The win made Spain the first European team to win a World Cup held outside Europe.

Casillas's five clean-sheets in seven games helped the Spanish custodian the third goalkeeper to captain a team to World Cup glory, following Italians Gianpiero Combi in 1934 and Dino Zoff in 1982.

#3 2012 European Championships

Casillas celebrates Spain's successful Euro defence in 2012
Casillas celebrates Spain's successful Euro defence in 2012

Spain started their title defence with a 1-1 draw against Italy in Gdansk. That would be the only goal Spain and Casillas would concede the entire tournament.

A 4-0 win over Northern Ireland in Poznan and a 1-0 win over Croatia on their return to Gdansk took Spain to the quarterfinals. There they beat France 2-0 in Donetsk, and then Portugal in a penalty shootout in the semifinals in Donetsk after a goalless 90 minutes, to return to the final.

In a surprisingly lopsided title match in Kiev, Spain overwhelmed Italy 4-0 to become the first team to successfully defend their European Championship title.

In the process, Casillas' fifth-consecutive clean sheet and 509 minutes without conceding a goal broke legendary Italian custodian Dino Zoff's long-standing record of 494 minutes. Casillas, in his 137th international game, also became the first player to feature in 100 match wins.

#4 First goalkeeper to feature in 100 match wins in Champions League

Casillas celebrates his third Champions League title with Real Madrid in 2014
Casillas celebrates his third Champions League title with Real Madrid in 2014

Casillas won three Champions League titles during his 17 years with Real Madrid, doing so in 2000, 2002 and 2014.

Casillas moved to Porto in the summer of 2015 and subsequently featured in the competition for the Portuguese club. In December 2018, Casillas emulated Cristiano Ronaldo by featuring in 100 match wins in the Champions League, as Porto beat Galatasaray 3-2 in Istanbul.

The win made Casillas the first goalkeeper in the Champions League to reach a century of match wins.

#5 Most clean sheets in the Champions League

Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas

Casillas broke Van der Saar's record for most clean sheets (50) in the Champions League when he did not concede a goal in Porto's 2-0 home win over Maccabi Tel Aviv. The match was part of the group stage fixtures in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League.

Casillas has since kept eight more clean sheets in the competition for the Portuguese club, to extend his record to 59.

The Spanish custodian also holds the record for most appearances (177) in the Champions League.

Edited by Musab Abid


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