Iker Casillas says goodbye to Real Madrid after Porto move
Iker Casillas said goodbye to Real Madrid in an emotionally charged news conference on Sunday after agreeing a move to Porto.
Casillas spent 25 years at the club, making 725 official appearances, but is now ready to write a new chapter with a club coached by former Spain and Real goalkeeper Julen Lopetegui.
Casillas, who was not accompanied by any Real officials at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Sunday, broke down in tears as he attempted to read a prepared statement to the media and was applauded by those in attendance.
After taking a deep breath, Casillas said: "First of all, thanks to everyone for coming here and for supporting me at this special time. I have come to this great stadium to say goodbye to everyone, and especially to all the Madridistas.
"Since yesterday I am no longer a Real Madrid player and I will now go to FC Porto. My decision to go to FC Porto was based on two factors -- the enthusiasm that their club president, coach -- who I know well -- and the staff have transmitted to me.
"Secondly, the affection that I have received when people found out that my destination would be Portugal.
"I will do all I can not to let them down and I will try to win as many titles as possible with them. Thank you, FC Porto, for trusting me."
At no time did the 34-year-old discuss why he was leaving Real -- who have so far failed in their efforts to sign Manchester United's David De Gea and Espanyol's Kiko Casilla this summer -- despite having two years remaining on his contract.
Casillas also did not refer to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
Casillas instead reflected on his career at the only club he has ever known, a club he joined as a boy.
"After 25 years defending the emblem of the biggest club in the world, this is one of the hardest days of my life," he said. "It feels like it was only yesterday when at the age of nine I wore for the first time Real's jersey and my dream came true.
"During this time we have enjoyed ourselves, shed tears, happiness, laughter, I have felt loved. This club has not only taught me to be a sportsmen but also taught me human values, being, those of respect, camaraderie and humility.
"I have always tried to show all of them wherever I went. I want to acknowledge all of my former and current teammates -- I leave a lot of friends behind me and I know that I will be always be able to count on them.
"I want to thank all of my coaches throughout my career, all of them. I have learned a lot from all of them."
Casillas broke into Real's first team in 1999 and won five Primera Division titles, as well as three Champions League trophies and two Copa del Rey crowns.
He is a World Cup winner and two-time European champion with Spain.
The move to Porto will ensure that Casillas continues to play and have a leading role, something that will help him maintain his place in Spain's squad.
Coincidentally, the transfer of Casillas to the Dragoes stadium was announced five years to the day that he lifted the World Cup with Spain in South Africa.
He is currently the Spain captain and the first-choice keeper ahead of De Gea.
Casillas did not field any questions from the media after his statement and did not reveal any details of his contract with Porto, though it has been reported he will join them on a two-year deal with an option to extend it a further season.
"All my love to my family, who made sacrifices for me to pursue this hard but rewarding career," Casillas said. "Also to my wife and my child, because they will always be there next to me."
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Casillas also spoke to the Real fans, saying: "Lastly, to all the Madridistas, thank you for all your unconditional support, for being there for me at the hard and good times, for choosing me as your captain and allowing me to lift up trophies.
"Whether people remember me for being a good or bad goalkeeper, above all I would like to be remembered for being a good person, with my defects.
"Thank you. I will never forget you and be sure that wherever I go, I will shout: Hala Madrid!"