In a shocking move that rocks the two giants of Spanish football, Proven Quality can reveal that Barcelona have pulled off a huge coup by securing the summer signing of Spanish international goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Casillas, 31, is a product of the Real Madrid youth system and has been with the club since the 1990-1991 season. Casillas has had a glittering career at both club level and with the Spanish team, having won 5 La Liga titles, two Champions League titles, two European Championships and a World Cup title.
Until recently a cornerstone and talisman of the Madrid club, Casillas has been out of favour in recent times amid rumours of in-fighting with Real Madrid manager José Mourinho. On the 22nd of December 2012, Casillas was sensationally dropped by Mourinho for the defeat away at Malaga. Soon after, Casillas suffered a hand injury, which had kept him on the sidelines. Now fit, Mourinho has not seen fit to restore Casillas to the starting line-up and has said :
“On Wednesday, Casillas won’t be a substitute. Against Levante he will be in the squad,” he said. “I can never say that a player will start for the rest of the season, but I can say that once more Diego Lopez has played very well and helped the team obtain a result.
“Playing as he has in games with a high grade of difficulty like Barcelona and Manchester United and playing as he is currently playing, he is important for the team.
In January, Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Casillas, along with Sergio Ramos had met with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to demand that Mourinho be removed from his managerial role at the club, and that if he did not leave, Casillas and Ramos would both leave in the summer.
That demand looks not to have been an idle threat, as Casillas has made the stunning decision to buy-out his contract at Real Madrid. Contracted at the club until 2017, Casillas met with Mourinho to reach a settlement on his contract, to allow him to leave the club immediately.
Under the Webster ruling, Casillas was able to agree satisfactory terms to terminate his contract at Real Madrid, but will not be able to register officially with another club until the summer transfer window opens.
Barcelona had declared themselves in the market for a new goalkeeper after long-time shot-stopper Víctor Valdés announced his intention not to renew his contract with the club.
Casillas was not included in the team for Spain’s recent win over France, but reportedly met up with some of his friends from the national team in Paris, dining with Xavi, Iniesta and Barcelona president Sandro Rosell after the match, where we can assume they discussed his future.
We understand that Casillas has agreed terms in principal with the Catalan club and will sign for them in the summer. In the meantime, having bought out his contract, Casillas is free to train with his new team-mates. In an interview with Spanish television, Iniesta was asked if Casillas would be welcomed to Barcelona in light of the huge rivalry between the two Spanish clubs, and while non-commital, Iniesta stated that Casillas is the best goalkeeper in the world and would of course be welcome at the best club in the world.
Edit : Oh, wait. What day is it?