Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas: I Am Not Anti-Barcelona

‘San Iker’ only had words of praise for his arch nemesis while playing down the idea that there is a strong resentment at the Bernabeu camp…
24 Jun 2009 07:21:13

Real Madrid may be receiving plenty of criticism from Barcelona for their efforts in resurrecting the Galacticos empire, but goalkeeper, Iker Casillas was not about to start a verbal volley with his bitter rivals.

Instead, he has commended the Catalans giants for the way they obtained the grand treble this past campaign, and for their philosophy of nurturing young talent.

“It is clear that Barca play the best football in Europe and at home. They won La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey and I can only congratulate them, as do the hierarchy at Real Madrid,” he said in an interview with Sport.

“There’s certainly healthy envy. Barcelona have always had a footballing model that lasts and they had seven canteranos in the final of the Champions League. Ofcourse that’s a reason to be envious.

“But it is really strange because Barca have so many youth players in the first team while Madrid exports all the players from the cantera. Almost every team in La Liga have a player who started off at Madrid’s youth ranks.”

When he was told that he is one of the more respected Madrid figures around Catalan circles, Casillas replied, “That is good to know. I am glad. The truth is that I am only being myself.

“I am not anti-Barcelona or anti anything. I like football and I’ve won a lot in this sport as a Madridista but if it’s evident that another team is better, I will congratulate them. Nothing else.”

The shot-stopper then went on to shower praise on Blaugrana star, Xavi.

“He is a player who is being recognised for his natural talent,” he explained, “and I have already said many times that he is Barcelona’s most important player, and not just from last year when he got a lot of buzz after Euro 2008.”

Finally, Casillas looked ahead to Spain’s Confederations Cup semi-final clash with the United States, and a possible showdown with Brazil in the final.

“First, it is necessary to beat the US. Only then can we think about watching the two strongest teams at present go head to head: Brazil, the five time world champions and Spain, who are at the top of FIFA’s ranking,” he concluded.

KS Leong,


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