Florentino Perez says he wanted Iker Casillas to retire at Real Madrid and believes the goalkeeper is “irreplaceable”
The President’s relationship with the Porto new boy has come under scrutiny in recent times, with the player’s parents accusing the patron of forcing their son out of the Santiago Bernabeu, but he was quick to praise the 34-year-old for his unequivocal commitment to Los Blancos.
“Over the past 25 years, he has won our respect and affection with impeccable behaviour,” he began at a Press conference on Monday.
“He is the best goalkeeper in the history of Real Madrid and Spanish football.
“Iker leaves us because that was his wish. No-one from Real Madrid had asked him to leave the club.
“He had an offer and asked us to consider the offer. Casillas earned the club’s time to listen [to his wishes].
“I understood Iker when he said that he wanted to start a new stage [of his career].
“I wish he had ended his career at Real Madrid, but I understand [his decision].
“Madrid fans will recognise Casillas as one of the most important players in the history of their club.
“He wanted a simple and austere farewell, and we’re working on a tribute match for him.
“I’m used to criticism. I’d have liked to have held a ceremony with all the players [that have left Madrid], but Iker wanted an austere ceremony.
“I have a good relationship with Casillas. I’ve never had a problem with him and his attitude has always been exemplary.
“We’ve spoken to Porto about playing a match on August 12 for the Bernabeu Trophy. We’ve signed the contract, and the match will be held in due course.
“This club is the most prestigious in the world. It is also difficult to find a player who has spent 25 years at a team like Iker Casillas.
“Someone always tries to take advantage of an opportunity to criticise us. It is also possible that we have done something wrong, and I will not deny this.
"Raul [Gonzalez] also thought the same as Casillas, that he could continue his career away from Real Madrid.
“Iker has earned the right to ask for his departure. There are players with existing contracts whom the club do not want to sell, and they will not be sold.
“I do not know what has been said about Iker, but I have always defended my players.
“[David] de Gea is a great goalkeeper but belongs to Manchester United and is only a friend of the club.
“I have nothing to say about a friend of the club. Iker Casillas is irreplaceable.”