Iker Casillas: “We have always been favorites”

Iker Casillas Fernández is the captain of la furia roja, current European Cup holders, Spain. He has been the Spanish first-choice keeper for over 10 years. Iker grew up in the Real Madrid youth system. On Wednesday night, Spain opens group round play against Switzerland in Durban. This match will be the 105th cap for Casillas.

Casillas commented about his Spanish side, the Confederations Cup experience from last year, Spain’s rivals, their less-than-stellar World Cup history, his role as captain and the adidas Jabulani during an interview with Marca.com from Madrid.

On His Spanish Side

Hay que ser prudentes y estar tranquilos, lo principal es tener respeto por los demás equipos… Una serie de jugadores con un gran talento y más que un equipo es una familia“.

“You have to be careful and remain calm. The important thing is to have respect for all of the teams… (Spain) is a group of players with great talent and more than a team it is a family.”

Confederations Cup Experience

Tenemos también la experiencia de la Copa de las Confederaciones, en la que con una selección fuerte, que venía de ganar la Eurocopa, ante un rival menor, más débil, salió derrotada (ante Estados Unidos en semifinales) y no pudo disputar un título más“.

Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina training in Durban

Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina training in Durban

“We also have the experience from the Confederations Cup with a strong team that had come from wining the European Cup. Before a lesser opponent (USA), much weaker, Spain was defeated in the semi-finals and couldn’t challenge for the title.”

On Spain’s Rivals

Ahora mismo los rivales aprovechan cualquier jugada, cualquier acción, hacen su trabajo. Tienes que estar preparado para todo. Cualquier jugada aislada en cualquier momento puede decidir un partido, o que la pelota no quiere entrar. Lo que tenemos que hacer es empezar de la mejor forma posible y sacar los tres puntos“.

“Right now, opponents take advantage of any play or action. They do their homework. You have to be prepared for everything. Any isolated play in any moment can decide the game or the ball that you don’t want to get past you. What we must do is to begin in the best possible way and take the three points.”

On Spain’s Poor World Cup History

Siempre hemos ido de favoritos y luego nos han pegado un buen palo. Estamos muy precavidos y prudentes, aunque nadie nos va a quitar lo que hemos conseguido, porque no es fácil ganar la Eurocopa“.

“We have always been favorites and then haven’t even hit a goal post. We are very prepared and cautious even if none of us is going to take away what we have achieved. Because it is not easy to win the European Cup.”

 Iker Casillas with the UEFA European Cup in 2008

Iker Casillas with the UEFA European Cup in 2008

On Being the Captain

Admitió que tiene:

“El placer y el orgullo de ser el capitán de la selección española desde hace cuatro años”.

Lo que para él fue:

“Un paso importante tanto a nivel profesional como personal“.

He admitted that he has:

“The pleasure and pride to be the captain of the Spanish national team for four years.”

That it was:

“A very important step on a professional and personal level.”

Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos: 'The Secrets of the Spanish Team' by Miguel Angel Diaz

Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos: 'The Secrets of the Spanish Team' by Miguel Angel Diaz

On the Jabulani Ball

Reclamó que los jugadores y en su caso los porteros tengan más participación en el diseño de los esféricos, aunque apuntó que no es excusa.

He complained that players and in his case, goalkeepers, should have more participation in the design of the balls even if he pointed out that it is not an excuse.

Spanish source: Marca.com, June 15, 2010.

Do you think that Casillas can lead Spain to elusive World Cup glory in South Africa?

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.

The Vuvuzela World Cup
Brazil 2-1 North Korea: The favourites are off to a winning start but the minnows can hold their heads up high