The legendary goalkeeper was ousted from the first-team picture at the Santiago Bernabeu after his relationship with his manager broke down
Iker Casillas has opened up about his relationship with Jose Mourinho during their time together at Real Madrid.
Friction between the two at the Santiago Bernabeu eventually led to a public falling-out, with club legend Casillas ousted from the first team and Mourinho eventually ousted from his position as manager.
Casillas says he wasn’t a fan of some of Mourinho’s off-field antics – particularly when he poked then-Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova in the eye – which contributed to their relationship deteriorating.
“There was a players’ strike in August 2011,” Casillas explained in Colgar las Alas, a Movistar+ documentary.
“As the captain, I spoke to my team-mates and we decided that we weren’t going to play which meant the opening games of the season wouldn’t go ahead. We said a couple of things that neither of us liked and took badly but it was left there. Then came the Super Cup.
“We gave a terrible impression. There were scraps, battles, giving your heart and soul… but the other things (poking Vilanova’s eye) – that was the kind of thing you might see at other clubs – tacky clubs, who need to resort to that sort of thing, and that is not for us.
“We played Levante, a game in which we fell further behind to Barcelona. That was the moment when we stopped talking. We were alone together in a room and he starts telling me that I should be more open and honest.
“I told him that I didn’t think it was right for a professional to poke another coach in the eye. Someone from the press department at the club grabbed us and told us to calm down, to talk it through. We sat down again and said what we had to say face to face.
“There were two or three games [in 2012-13] in which we didn’t play well. That was when the old resentment resurfaced, when we fell behind in the table. Our relationship deteriorated. It had reached the point of no return by the third year.
“Up until the second year it was a love-hate relationship. He told me he didn’t think I was focused, he didn’t think I was playing well… I thought that maybe it was true. I had other things on my mind that I was worried about at the time.”
Nevertheless, Casillas says Mourinho was quick to get in touch with his best wishes when the goalkeeper suffered a heart attack in 2019.
“He called me, wished me the best. Those are the little things which I should focus on. Other people have made more out of the animosity than we have”.