World-class goalkeeper Iker Casillas will be a Madridista until the day he dies (and probably well into the afterlife too, let’s be real!) but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll never leave the club. In a recent interview in The Wall Street Journal, Casillas admitted he has “no problem saying that I would like to play in the U.S.,” signaling a possible move across the Atlantic some time in the next three years.
Casillas, who joined Real Madrid in 1990 through the team’s La Fábrica youth academy, is contracted with Real until the end of the 2016-2017 season. There’s a possibility he may leave earlier if the transfer rumors about his goaltending national team heir David De Gea turn out to be true. De Gea may be sent to Real Madrid from his current home at Manchester United in exchange for Gareth Bale during the summer window. That combined with Real coach Carlo Ancelotti claiming that he plans on giving secondary keeper Keylor Navas more playing time down the line is reason enough for Spain’s number 1 to start looking elsewhere.
So, if Casillas does leave his longtime home in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium for the distant shores of the USA, where would he go? We have a few guesses!
Los Angeles Galaxy
Let’s get this one immediately out of the way. The league’s winning-est team also continues to be the team to host some ridiculous talent. David Beckham bent a few balls at StubHub Center in the past alongside Landon Donovan while Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez, Jaime Penedo, and Steven Gerrard (once his run at Liverpool ends) are currently tearing it up in the blue-and-white uniform.
It only makes sense that a living legend such as Casillas would be sent off to hang out with the stars in sunny So Cal. However, his arrival would require the team losing one of its Designated Players: Keane, Gonzalez, or Gerrard. The league can always bend the rules to allow for Casillas’s arrival (if they can create whole new rules just for Jermaine Jones…). Then again, at 34 years of age, either Keane or Gerrard may end up retiring beforehand.
Los Angeles Football Club
LAFC won’t make an onfield appearance until 2017, which just so happens to be the same year Casillas’s contract comes to an end. What a wonderful coincidence! The team has plenty of ridiculously wealthy/famous backers to make it happen and such a move would send a strong message of intent to other teams.
There’s also the massive levels of marketing gold his arrival would spark. Just imagine Irving “Magic” Johnson sharing paella with Casillas at a Spanish restaurant at The Grove while wearing an LA Dodgers cap. Also imagine Casillas posing for photos at Plaza Olvera next to the statue of Spanish king Carlos III. Dang!
New York City Football Club
NYCFC already has two big names on its roster: FC Barcelona/Atletico Madrid striker David Villa and Chelsea/Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard. Signing Casillas would reunite him with his Spanish national teammate Villa who is also his former club rival.
New York Red Bulls
…MLS and Soccer United Marketing would probably love to send Casillas across town to NYRB to beef up whatever plans they have for a New York rivalry. How could they resist the call of a Barcelona/Madrid rivalry in the US with MLS teams?
Orlando City Soccer Club
This would be huge for the little team that rose out of the minor leagues and into MLS (a move that required millions of dollars and a soccer-specific stadium not entirely demanded of NYCFC…BUT I DIGRESS!). Casillas would also play with former teammate Kaká on the field.
The regional climate might convince the goalkeeper to head down south. It’s ridiculously hot and humid out there just like it is in much of Spain. He can also take regular trips north to St. Augustine to visit the Castillo de San Marcos, a Spanish castle built in the 17th century built by the orders of Francisco de la Guerra y de la Vega. Just like home!
Miami Football Club
The club lovingly referred to as David Beckham FC (he’s one of the owners after all) has hit a few snags on its way to first kick. Let’s assume the team is ready to play by 2017. Casillas could be one of the stars to help launch the team run by yet another former teammate (we’re sensing a pattern here).
Also, the heat, humidity, the Spanish castle, etc. Just keep him away from Little Havana.
No, scratch that, this team is way too hipster to sign Casillas. PDX would rather have a guy like Wojciech Szczęsny in about 10 years anyway.
FC Dallas/Houston Dynamo
Blah blah Hispanic market blah blah.
WILD CARD: New York Cosmos
Wouldn’t this be nuts?! Imagine MLS hype up Casillas’s exit from Real Madrid to the US only for him to join fellow Madridista Raul Gonzalez at the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. ¡Ostia!
WILD CARD 2: Real Madrid
The deal with De Gea falls through (at least for a few years), Navas becomes the first-choice keeper, and Casillas signs a new contract with Real, content with a fat check and time on the bench after considering all his past achievements. He retires years later as a “one-team player” and becomes a goalkeeper coach for La Fábrica.