A National Treasure
Last month, BBVA Compass and the Realmadrid Foundation teamed up to launch Real Madrid’s Sports and Achievement Academy at Eliot and Rusk Elementary schools with an announcement made by Iker Casillas, Captain for Real Madrid and the Spanish National team. Publisher Alejandro Martinez had the opportunity to talk with the soccer icon.
Of the championships you have won with Real Madrid and the Spanish National team, which has had the most significance to you?
With Spain, the World Cup when I won in South Africa, because it has been the most important as well as the biggest accomplishment for Spain. But in terms of being the biggest accomplishment, it has to be the 2008 EuroCup because it was my first and it was the first title Spain had seen in forty years without a win.
Have you ever doubted your skills as a soccer player, and what was your motivation to follow this dream?
Yes, one does doubt himself in this sort of career and I think in 2002, I went through the worst level of performance as a player; and it is a time where you are forced to mature not only as an athlete but as a person. In terms of motivation, it was to secure playing for Real Madrid not only to make Spaniards happy but to win titles for such an important team.
As the captain of Spain, what do you feel every time you hold a trophy?
Knowing that a photo of that moment will be forever in history, and as time passes people will continue to see it and remember the moment.
There is so much talent in terms of soccer within the world, what do you think made you successful?
I think apart from having skills, you need to have a good head on your shoulders. My fans have always shown me affection and I’ve never let compliments go to my head.
What advice do you have for young hopefuls?
Look at soccer as a hobby rather than a career and hopefully one day when you least expect it, that hobby will turn itself into a career.
Who do you admire in and off the field today?
I admire athletes who are fine players on the field and make time for those who deserve and need his attention off.
How do you mentally prepare for a final?
It’s hard because there are a lot of nerves knowing that one action can affect the ultimate outcome of a game, so one has to be cold and calculated.
What do you like to do when you are not playing?
I like to disconnect and lead a regular life like everyone else.
What have you enjoyed about Houston?
The tranquility of life here. I’ve been here a few days and everyone is very easygoing.
An interview by Alejandro Martinez
Photography by Sofia van der Dys
Special thank you to Renato Alarcon