Barcelona star criticises Madrid over Casillas exit

Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas

Barcelona legend Xavi has criticized the manner in which Real Madrid star Iker Casillas’ left Bernabeu, stating that it leaves a ‘bad taste in the mouth’.

Casillas spent 16-years with Real, winning La Liga five times and the Champions League three times, but appeared alone in the Bernabeu press room on Sunday to read a tearful farewell statement, before leaving for Porto.

After the club received heavy criticism from fans and the media, they staged an official presentation at the stadium the next day to explain the issue.

The presentation was meant to clear the air over the criticism expressed by fans after Casillas’ tearful news conference on Sunday.

Casillas appeared to be alone in the stadium press room to read out a farewell statement with reports indicating that Real Madrid President Perez had required Casillas to leave, against his will.

Madrid had to organise another farewell for Casillas on Monday, with Perez appearing in front of reporters to praise the former captain and Casillas appearing in front of Real fans with the trophies that had been won by the club while he had been a team player.

Fans outside the Bernabeu chanted “Florentino resign”, an invitation to Perez to vacate his post.

Xavi meanwhile left Barca on a high, waving farewell to the club’s fans on a trophy parade celebrating their treble at the end of the campaign, and he is unimpressed by his former Spain team-mates treatment.

Speaking to a Catalan newspaper the midfielder said: “It cannot be that maturing Spanish athletes are not shown sufficient respect. He is going to Porto and I am sure he will be welcomed as a hero.

“Away from here they will appreciate him more. I look at Iker and I have the feeling that lately he is playing under pressure, as if he has to prove what a great keeper he is in every match, without the joy he always had.

“In recent years I have seen that he is not enjoying himself like before. He even seems bitter and I think everyone in this country should think about this.

“It cannot be that people neglect to value everything they have done for their sport and instead focus on their defects, sometimes with malicious intent.”

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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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