‘C’est fini’, says tearful Casillas as he quits Real

‘C’est fini’, says tearful Casillas as he quits Real

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With those few words in French a tearful Iker Casillas brought to an end his farewell statement on Sunday to the Real Madrid fans he has served as first-team goalkeeper and captain for 16 seasons.
Dressed in a dark blue shirt and sitting alone in front of the assembled media at the Bernabeu stadium press room, the 34-year-old, who is leaving for Portuguese side Porto, choked up several times as he thanked Real for “giving me everything”.”This club also moulded me as a person and helped me to grow,” said Casillas, who joined the Real academy at the age of nine and debuted for the first team at 18.”Beyond remembering me as a good goalkeeper or a bad goalkeeper I just hope that people remember me for being a good person,” he added.Casillas was speaking after Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo published an interview with his parents on Sunday in which they said their son had been forced out of the club by president Florentino Perez.Casillas had been the victim of an orchestrated campaign of “vilification” in recent years which eventually prompted his decision to quit, they added.Real did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Casillas did not take questions after making his statement, in which he did not mention Perez by name.The impression remains that the Spain captain is leaving under a cloud after he was whistled by some fans at the Bernabeu last season, when the club failed to win major silverware.It was telling that no Real officials appeared with him on Sunday, in huge contrast to his close friend and former Spain team mate Xavi Hernandez.Xavi, 35, left Barcelona for Qatari side Al Sadd at the end of last season and was given a series of rousing send-offs by fans, officials and team mates at the Nou Camp.Casillas said he was excited about joining Porto, who are coached by Spanish ex-keeper Julen Lopetegui, and that he would fight hard to win as many trophies as possible.His decision to leave Real is widely believed to have been prompted by the expected arrival of Manchester United’s David De Gea, the 24-year-old former Atletico Madrid man who is also being groomed to take over as Spain keeper.Regular playing time in Portugal for Porto should allow Casillas to extend his international career at least until next year’s European Championship in France.

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