It's been a rough week for Iker Casillas. The Real Madrid captain committed several shocking blunders in two World Cup games that contributed to an unimaginably early exit for defending champions Spain. As an admirer and fan of Casillas, I came close to tears when I saw him literally crawling after Arjen Robben in the play that led to Holland's fifth goal. How the mighty have fallen. Admittedly, almost all of Spain's players put in disastrous shifts, but Real Madrid's figurehead and living legend has bared the brunt of the criticism after conceding seven goals in two games. So, where do we go from here?
I must confess that I'm on the fence about whether Iker should return to Real Madrid or seek greener pastures. In the last 24 hours, I've been thinking perhaps Iker should leave the capital club for his own professional well-being. From my outsider perspective, I can't help but feel the pressure and scrutiny he'll encounter after such a forgettable World Cup will only drive his confidence deeper into a dark abyss. His mistakes this past week seemed to be largely mental as opposed to physical. His faulty touch on the ball and his misplaced punch looked to me as examples of insecurity and self-doubt as opposed to athletic deficiencies. Wouldn't it be better for Iker to start fresh at a new club to regain his form away from the pressure cooker that is Real Madrid? There were murmurs that Arsenal were interested.
Despite these reflections, I adamantly believe Casillas deserves the chance to come back for one more season to duke it out with Diego Lopez. I'm not going to stand on my figurative soap box and claim that Iker should automatically start in all competitions, especially in light of his last three games (Champions League and World Cup). But a guy that's spent fourteen years at Real Madrid and won everything there is to win on a collective and personal level (including two titles with the club last month), deserves, at the very least, the right to redeem himself in the eyes of Carlo Ancelotti. Ten days ago, Ancelotti stated "Casillas is very happy to stay here, and we're happy that he's staying." Iker Casillas is a competitor and a champion, and after such an embarrassing showing with La Roja, Real Madrid's captain may return to Valdebebas more fired up and motivated than ever. In my opinion, he's earned the right to prove us wrong.
Author's note: this is an editorial expressing an opinion. Please feel free to respectfully disagree with the contents of the piece in the comment section.