INTERNATIONAL | PORTO
Open letter from Xavi to Casillas: ‘Relax, Luis, Iker's here’
The ex Barcelona player explained in the newspaper, 'La Vanguardia', his relationship with his friend and former team-mate in the national team.
Xavi Hernández has composed an emotive open letter to his friend and former team-mate with the Spanish national team, Iker Casillas. Inspired by the complicated situation the goalkeeper underwent following his departure from Real Madrid. The former Barça player takes a reflective look back at their time as players together.
Letter from Xavi Hernandez, published in La Vanguardia (July 14, 2015)
"I first met Iker at the Under-17 World Cup in Egypt in 1997 and we hit it off instantly. We were just kids but very similar. We used to enjoy teasing each other and we both liked sharp witted people. Iker hasn’t changed over the years and when people ask me how he is, I always say the same thing “He’s one of the good guys”
That’s why it bothers me to see what is happening to him now. In recent years, I have seen that he is not enjoying himself as before. He even seems bitter and I think we should reflect on this situation.
It’s not right that Spanish sportsmen and women can’t move on without people lacking the respect for all they all they have done for their sport, certain individuals seem to take pleasure in finding fault with these athletes and in cases maliciously. I see it happening with Rafael Nadal, possible one of the best Spanish athletes of all time.
I look at the 37-year-old Buffon (Juventus) and I see how is still enjoys goalkeeping. I look at Iker and I have the feeling that he is lately playing under pressure, as if he has to prove what a great keeper he is in every match, without the joy he always had. Now he is going to Porto and I am sure he will be welcomed as a hero. Incredible, away from here they will appreciate him more. I consider myself a fortunate exception after my past season at Barça, but Iker deserved the same treatment he always gave to others.
How can one not appreciate Iker? For me he is the most decisive goalkeeper in history. What a shot-stopper, I’ve never seen a more intuitive goalkeeper in my time in the game
He changed the course of history for the national team during the penalty shoot-out against Italy in the 2008 European Championship. Relax Luis, Iker’s here, he’s a talisman", I said to Aragonés. He wasn’t a talisman, he was special. The stops he pulled off from Robben in the World Cup final, a stop from Perotti during a game against Sevilla, which appeared impossible to pull off... there, are so many.
What I’m most pleased about is that we maintained our friendship over and above the rivalry of our clubs. Iker has always been with Madrid and me with Barça but we managed to deflate problems just like a marriage.
For example, when the problem arose between Real Madrid and Barcelona and we realized that it might escalate, he called me and said, "We have to fix this".
To me, the way his departure from Real Madrid has been handled is disappointing, It’s a real pity. He doesn’t need me to tell him he’s the best and I have huge respect for him I wish you all the best in your new chapter at Porto my friend.