Casilla: I fought for Madrid

Kiko Casilla wants to be Real Madrid’s first choice but will be ready whenever Zinedine Zidane calls. ‘I fought to be noticed…’

Casilla was the alternative to Keylor Navas last season and admitted in an interview with Marca that Los Blancos’ elimination from the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player made his life more difficult.

“Yes, for me and for those who don’t play as much, to have a competition where you’re going to play and in the first game it all goes wrong…it’s complicated. If things are going well you have more games. It’s annoying because you lose the option of building confidence and getting more minutes,” he agreed.

“I didn’t play as much as expected because of the Copa, but I think the season was good, winning a major trophy such as the Champions League. I knew what I was getting into, I knew Madrid, and that I wasn’t going to come here and play 38 games, that was very clear.

“But I also knew I could learn a lot from everything that Madrid is. It’s been a year of learning and a very good one because of La Undecima.

“I saw Keylor said [Casilla and Ruben] are his best-ever teammates. That’s a compliment. I try to help. It’s always important to help your fellow goalkeepers, whether you play or not. He has the agility of a cat. I’ve never seen a goalkeeper with his speed.

“Can I dislodge him? I don’t know, I’m not the Coach. It’s clear that for my work, for my dedication, for my sacrifice, it’s not going to be. I don’t need anything to motivate me. I fought to be noticed by a club like Madrid. I’m super grateful to Espanyol.

“I enjoy it every day at Madrid, because I know what it cost me. It’s one thing to enjoy and another to compete, and to compete as if you’re playing on Sunday. I think that helps the group, the team, Keylor too. The day-to-day is very important and if you’re not prepared or you relax and have to play Sunday, it doesn’t work.

“I plan on staying. Why? To fight. If I had x number of games this year, then next year I want more. I want to help the team, to compete, and to play as much as I can. I’ll compete for how much the Coach wants me to play, whether that’s one, 10 or 15 games, and I’ll be prepared. If he needs us, we’re here. He wants me to stay, so I’m doing the right things.”

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