Real Madrid have a goalkeeper in their ranks who is one of the best of all time. Iker Casillas is captain of the Spanish national team dominating world football.
He has been at Real Madrid since the age of nine accumulating to a grand total of 22 years at the Bernabeu. After the reign of Bodo Illgner came to an end and he fought off the competition from Cesar Sanchez he has been Real’s outstanding number one keeper.
Since the Champions League Final in 2002 he has rarely received sustained criticism or questions over his future, but a decade on Spanish papers are starting to do just that.
While goalkeepers can be a super-human breed, playing well into their late 30’s as the recent examples of Edwin Van Der Sar, Brad Friedel and Andres Palop highlights Casillas turned 31 this summer and his recent fractious relations with Jose Mourinho have given credence to warning lights across Spain as to his long-term future.
Nobody questions his class, or indeed his first-team status, but Real Madrid are widely reported to be chasing a competitive understudy to one day take the reins from the legendary Madridista. At the moment his only competition comes from unproven and untried 24-year-old Jesus.
While early rumours of a pursuit for Joe Hart have been quashed other Premier League names have been thrown into the hat as the eventual successor to the great Iker at Madrid.
This is carrying some momentum in the press, as the Belgian has been superb during his time on loan at Madrid’s city-rival’s Atletico. However Chelsea signed the teenager as an eventual successor to Petr Cech themselves so Madrid would have to stump up serious money to pry him away.
His number-one spot at Arsenal is in doubt and Jerzy Dudek, the legendary keeper of the Arsenal stoppers homeland, is still involved in an advisory role in the Spanish capital. He may advise the Los Merengues to pursue the 22-year-old.
Probably the outstanding shot-stopper in the Premier League this season and his form hasn’t gone unnoticed with mooted interest from Paris Saint-Germain. Martin O’Neill called him the bravest keeper in the world, an attribute he would need to take over from Casillas.
David de Gea
Not a bad shout when you consider it. United could recoup much of their transfer fee for a goalkeeper that is clearly struggling to earn Fergie's backing. Madrid-born but a former Colchoneros he would fit the bill of a young Spanish stopper that most Madrid fans would crave.
Reportedly Jose tried to snap him up as Petr Cech’s understudy six years ago when the Bosnian had barely played for Portsmouth. Arguably, he has been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season but at 25 he may not fit the age bill.
But what do you think? Will Madrid move for a Premier League keeper in January?
image: © James Boyes