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Iker Casillas considered leaving Real Madrid

Real Madrid CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 13: Iker Casillas of Real Madrid looks down during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 13, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

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Last season saw Iker Casillas in a very unfamiliar position: the bench.

After nearly 25 years with Real Madrid, Casillas thought about leaving the club after a disappointing year for one of Real’s most revered players.

Diego Lopez found his way into the starting goalkeeper spot, a position Casillas had held since 2000. While it looked like Real might be taking a new direction in net, Casillas weighed his options outside of the Bernabeu.
I thought about going. What you want is for Real Madrid to always win. But in the end, at 33-years-of-age, you think, why should I (go)?

There was a lot of talk about an offer from Arsenal, but there was nothing concrete. I want to stay at Real Madrid, keep fighting here and finish my career here.”

While Casillas is no longer the at the level of when he won five straight World’s Best Goalkeeper awards from 2008-2012, his stature as one of Madrid’s most legendary players does not change.

[ RELATED: Casillas says Madrid fans are entitled to complain after loss ]

Casillas, who joined Real when he was nine years old, has become one of the most decorated players in club history. He has won three Champions Leagues, five La Liga titles and two Copa del Rays to go along with his 2010 World Cup championship with Spain. Casillas is also nearing in on the record for most Champions League appearances ever, just trailing Xavi of Barcelona.

With Diego Lopez now in Milan, Casillas has been placed back into Madrid’s starting lineup. Luckily for Casillas, Real’s nearly unstoppable attack takes some of the pressure off the goalkeeper.

At 33 years old, a goalkeeper could still play five or six years at a high level. But while Casillas’ loyalty is with Madrid, he knows one day he may have to leave his boyhood club.

I would like to have some experience abroad before retiring. I think it would help me to appreciate Real Madrid even more. I am convinced that if you go abroad, you will realize what this club represents for the whole world.”