The former Real Madrid coach says the 33-year-old has responded superbly to criticism and is one of the two best in his position from the last 20 years
Former Italy goalkeeper Franco Tancredi has described Iker Casillas as “cold and calculating” – and says the Real Madrid captain has years left at the very top.
Casillas has endured a turbulent 18 months at Santiago Bernabeu, having been ousted as first-choice goalkeeper in La Liga prior to this season and roundly criticised for some high-profile errors – not least during Spain’s disastrous 2014 World Cup.
However, the 33-year-old has begun to recapture some of his top form in recent weeks, helping Madrid to a record 22-game winning run and keeping two clean sheets in their Club World Cup triumph, which also saw him save a penalty.
And Tancredi, who coached the player at Santiago Bernabeu from 2006 to 2007, is adamant he has proven his quality and resolve with his performances.
“He plays in the best team in the world and I’m convinced he has many years left at this level,” he told Marca. “I feel very fortunate to have coached him, because he seems to me to be an exceptional man, a great professional.
“Look at his history – 16 years with the most dangerous team… For me, he and [Gianluigi] Buffon are the best of the last 20 years.
“The criticism seems unjust to me, because we all have our tough moments. Luckily, with his intelligence and quality, he’s come through it. He’s proven to be a man who always moves forward.
“He’s cold and calculating and, from my experience, he’s the first person to come forward when things aren’t going well.
“We’re talking about a training fanatic, a sportsman without apparent weaknesses and who speaks little and responds with actions.
“The best goalkeeper is the one who fails less, not who makes more saves. Casillas can spend a long time standing around and decide a game with a crucial stop. He did so with [Lionel] Messi in the Clasico. He saved the 2-0; that was the key.”