At the turn of the new millennium, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez wanted to build a team boasting some of the football world's biggest stars. He largely succeeded, although their success on the pitch was varied. So, where are they now?
Looking back at Iker Casillas’ career, you can understand the ignominy his throngs of Real Madrid fans felt when they perceived that he had been forced out last summer. The goalkeeper had been inextricably linked to the club’s affinity for the Champions League, being instrumental in their eighth and ninth successes in the competition.
His second European title was secured after he nearly single-handedly denied Bayer Leverkusen with his cat-like reflexes in the final – a match elevated to the stuff of legend by Zinedine Zidane’s outstanding volley that sealed the 2-1 result (see below).
That never detracted from Casillas’ decisive contributions, however, and over the next few years the custodian was held in the highest esteem by Madrid’s supporters. The acknowledgement of his skills became global following his performances for Spain as they claimed the Euro 2008 title and the 2010 World Cup before defending their trophy at Euro 2012.
Things went south for Casillas when he became a casualty of a civil war with Jose Mourinho and was soon benched. He never rediscovered his assurance between the posts in a Madrid shirt after that. Despite bearing all the markings of a one-club man, there was an air of inevitability when he departed for Porto in 2015, where he remains. – By Jeremy Lim