Reina: Casillas is a role model for all

Former Barcelona goalkeeper Miguel Reina is the latest in a growing list to back Real Madrid's Iker Casillas for the Ballon d'Or.

Football News: Spain

By staff

Considered by many to be the world's best goalkeeper, Casillas finished a memorable season in which he captained both club and country to championship glory. Reina believes the Real Madrid player deserves European football's top honour for his exemplary performance both on and off the pitch.

"It is clear Casillas deserves [the Ballon d'Or], he had a great European Championship, and had a very good season with Madrid, winning La Liga. Honestly, for the work he's done, he undoubtedly deserves it. I have no doubt that he has done more than enough to merit the award," he stated to AS.

"Casillas has shown a human quality, and is a role model for all young people. Furthermore, he showed immense fair play in the Euro final. When the referee added on time at the end of the game, Casillas asked the assistant referee not to add on any more minutes out of respect for Italy. It was unnecessary to draw any more blood from the Italians. Casillas is a symbol for football, and sport in general."

Having made more than 250 appearances for Barcelona as well as Athletico Madrid, and as the father of current Liverpool first choice Pepe Reina, the Spaniard is all to familiar with goalkeepers being overlooked when it comes to awards. However, Reina hopes for Casillas to buck the trend this year.

"Maybe that will be a problem for Casillas. Awards like this are never given to goalkeepers. It is always the forwards [that win], because they get all the glory. It is about time a goalkeeper was given the Ballon d'Or. It is the most difficult position in football, and deserves equal recognition," he said.

"Players like [Dino] Zoff and [Oliver] Kahn were two great keepers, but never received enough recognition. Buffon also. This year it will be difficult [for Casillas to win], but for his effort and his career so far, he deserves it."

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