Iker Casillas: The man with the $10-million hands
Can Iker Casillas stop the world?
Born: May 20, 1981 in Madrid
Nicknames: Saint Iker, El Gato (The Cat)
Clubs played for: Iker Casillas is a one-club player — among the fortunate few who grow up in the youth system of a successful team and become a modern idol. Since he joined Real Madrid's first team in 1999, the 29-year-old has made 518 total appearances and won four La Liga titles, and two Champions Leagues.
International career: Around the same time Saint Iker became Real Madrid's No. 1 goalkeeper he also became Spain's top man between the sticks. In 10 years, Casillas has made over 100 appearances for La Roja and won Euro 2008 as captain of his country.
Why is he so special? His greatest attribute is that he can anticipate what an attacker is going to do, and his quick reactions make him like a giant inside a small box.
His most famous moment: Saint Iker stopped Italy twice in the Euro 2008 quarter-final to help Spain overcome a major mental hurdle and push on to the semifinal.
He said it: "I think if I had to start all over again and had the same choices, I would take the same route. I was very lucky to be able to start at a very young age, and things have turned out well. I hope I can carry on this way."
What they're saying about him: "Iker Casillas is Spain's undisputed starter in goal." — Vicente del Bosque, Spain head coach.
Interesting fact: In 2007, Casillas insured his hands for 7.5 million euros, then equivalent to $10 million, with Groupama Insurance. The policy covered his mitts for injuries suffered on or off the field, and Casillas became a spokesman for the insurance company. "If I damage my knee, I'll pretend my hand hurts," the Real Madrid star said after he signed the deal.