‘Clasicos helped win prize’

Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez believe that their work in re-uniting the Spain team after the Clasicos was why they received the Prince of Asturias award.

The Real Madrid and Barcelona players were announced last month as recipients of the award for Sport that recognises ‘individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in their field’.

Collecting the award this Friday in Oviedo [pictured], the duo reflected on why they felt they won the award and both pointed to their easing of the tension between Real and Barca after the 2010-11 Clasicos and the Supercopa Clasicos that opened the 2011-12 season with clashes between the players.

“We are the figureheads of a generation that will be recalled in history,” reflected Casillas.

“What we are together for most was the Supercopa de Espana, because I think that we saw a picture that was not right.

“There was too much stress and we had to alleviate things. We have been friends for many years so it should have been.”

Xavi agreed that the duo’s work in opening talks between the two camps is why they picked up the award this week.

“It has been very important, there was more tension than normal and certainly how we solved these tensions have helped us to win this award,” he told reporters.

“We discussed things and that was that. Puyol, Del Bosque and many of our Spain teammates were also important.”

Casillas then turned his attention to his admiration for his co-winner, Xavi.

“I’ve said it many times, the success of Barca is in the boots of Xavi, which I already knew about. It seems that you are all now recognising his work too.

“I think that he has always been a great player, from the school of Guardiola, De La Pena…”

It was a compliment matched by Xavi: “His footballing ability goes without saying. He is someone who unites people. Casillas would be among my nominees for the Ballon d’Or.”

Tags Casillas Clasico Prince of Asturias Xavi