It was not a surprise that Casillas left. Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez has been trying to push him out for months, with Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea lined up as his replacement.
Perez and Real could have given Casillas a departure worthy of his status at the club, but after trying to screw their captain over €5.5 million over the weekend, Casillas had had enough and announced that on Sunday night that he was leaving his boyhood club at a press conference alone.
The sight of a Real Madrid legend saying goodbye without anyone at the club by himself caused headlines around the world, with L’Equipe summing up the feelings of most of the footballing world with the headline:
‘Madrid, a club without much class’
The backlash was so bad, that Perez and Real were forced to give Casillas another sending off, on the pitch at the Bernabéu in front of Madrid fans.
Even that did not stop the bad press, and with his image and the club’s image tarnished, Perez went on the attack claiming that Casillas wanted to leave, not him.
Pérez was overhead telling the president of Real Madrid’s Ramón Mendoza supporters’ club that:
“he’d spoken with Iker Casillas” and understood that “he wanted to leave because he’d had a gut full”.
But even MARCA does not buy Perez’s story as they featured an interview on Wednesday with Santos Márquez, one of the men at the centre of Casillas’s move to Porto, who has given his version of events.
Talking on Radio MARCA’s programme, ‘Intermedio’, Márquez assured that Casillas didn’t leave ‘Los Blancos’ of his own free will, but was forced out.
“Casillas never decided to jump ship and leave Real; he was pushed. Six years ago, when the likes of Guti and Raúl were there, he was already condemned. He is the captain, he was condemned”, Santos Márquez said. “In no moment did I hear Rafa Benítez say I want or I don’t want Casillas”, he added.
Márquez also accused Real Madrid of not wanting the team to bid farewell to the goalkeeper and according to him, in order to avoid it, they put off the agreement.
“It was a case of waiting until the team left so that they couldn’t say goodbye to Iker, of that I am quite sure”, he assured.
I wonder what current Real Madrid players, and future players (de Gea?) think of the way that Perez has pushed out Carlo Ancelotti and now Iker Casillas this summer. Will it make them think twice about making the move to the Spanish capital?