Soccer Real to give Casillas official send-off after criticism

Casillas had been the victim of an orchestrated campaign of "vilification" in recent years which eventually prompted his decision to quit, they said.

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Real to give Casillas official send-off after criticism play

Real to give Casillas official send-off after criticism

(Reuters)
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Real Madrid have decided to give departing goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas an official send-off later on Monday following criticism over the low-key nature of his tearful farewell news conference on Sunday.

Casillas, who is leaving his boyhood club after 16 seasons in the first team to join Porto, appeared alone at the Bernabeu press room and choked up several times as he read out a statement thanking the club for "giving me everything".

The contrast with his close friend and former Spain team mate Xavi Hernandez was telling and prompted widespread criticism in the Spanish media that Real had not treated their club legend with sufficient respect.

Xavi, 35, left Barcelona for Qatari side Al Sadd at the end of last season and was given a series of rousing send-offs by fans, officials and team mates at the Nou Camp surrounded by family and friends and a glittering array of trophies.

Real president Florentino Perez and Casillas will appear on the VIP tribune at the Bernabeu at 1100 GMT, Real said in a statement on their website (www.realmadrid.com). They did not say whether fans would be allowed into the stadium.

Casillas spoke on Sunday after Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo published an interview with his parents in which they said their son had been forced out of the club by Perez.

Casillas had been the victim of an orchestrated campaign of "vilification" in recent years which eventually prompted his decision to quit, they said.

Real did not respond to a request for comment and Casillas did not take questions after making his statement, in which he did not mention Perez by name.

Casillas's decision to leave Real is believed to have been partly motivated by the expected arrival of Manchester United's David De Gea, the 24-year-old former Atletico Madrid man who is also being groomed to take over as Spain keeper.

Regular playing time for Porto should allow Casillas to extend his international career at least until next year's European Championship in France.

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