Ask a football fan to name the best goalkeeper in history and some will say Iker Casillas.
The former Real Madrid ‘keeper achieved legendary status in the game by winning the five La Ligas, three Champions League trophies, the World Cup and two European Championships’. Not bad.
Casillas’ legacy was stained somewhat by his unceremonious exit from the Bernabeu in 2015, helped in no small part by a feud with Jose Mourinho during the Portuguese’s time in Spain.
Yet we’re talking about a goalkeeper who earned a record 166 caps for Spain, broke into Madrid’s first-team at the age of 18 and holds the record for most appearances in the Champions League, with 158 and counting.
The 35-year-old, now plying his trade at Porto, deserves his place among football’s best goalkeepers.
He’s joined there by some imperial figures, such as Gianluigi Buffon and Olivier Kahn, two of the players included in Casillas’ list of top five goalkeepers of all-time.
In a video uploaded to his YouTube page, the Madrid legend ranked the best showstoppers, in his opinion. Manchester United fans will love number one.
1. Peter Schmeichel
2. Luis Arconada
3. Gianluigi Buffon
4. Oliver Kahn
5. Victor Valdes
Some might argue Victor Valdes’ inclusion on the list, especially over the likes of Lev Yashin, Edwin van der Sar and Gordon Banks.
But Valdes says of his ex-Barcelona rival: “Valdes played a huge role at a club like Barcelona, and everything he achieved there was marvellous.”
Values won everything there was to win at the Camp Nou, including three Champions League trophies and six La Liga titles. But you only have to look at his career post-Barca to realise that he was helped enormously by those around him.
Casillas endured a fractured relationship with Mourinho during their time together at Madrid.
The Special One, now calling the shots at Manchester United, dropped the Spaniard in a game in December 2012 and thus began a lengthy spell on the bench.
Casillas’ position wasn’t helped when he spoke with Barcelona’s players about the Madrid/Barcelona rivalry, something that frustrated Mourinho.
“There was a tremendous war,” Casillas admitted, per the Mirror. “In the last year we did not talk at all. It was an ugly situation.
“He did not feel good that I was talking to the players of Barcelona.
“It was the talk of the world and I think I did my best. My situation in Madrid was flawed since that time. I was not feeling well on a personal level, I wanted to play and compete. The best thing was to leave.”