Kiko Casilla is the man that Spanish club Real Madrid has hired to replace their long-time goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Kiko has worked hard to get where he is now, from his days in the Madrid reserve squad to his quite successful time with Espanyol and the return to his club from childhood. Let’s take a look at Kiko’s journey so far.
Kiko Casilla Biography and Profile
Early Life and Career
Kiko was born Francisco Casilla Cortés on October 2, 1986, in Alcover, Tarragona, Catalonia. He has an older brother named José Antonio Casilla. Kiko’s brother was born on August 29, 1979, in Reus, Tarragona, Catalonia, and is a professional volleyball player. He was a member of the Spanish men’s national team that finished 9th at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Kiko has loved to play soccer since she was a child. As a small boy, he played for the local club Gimnàstic de Tarragona. By the age of 13, his skills had attracted Real Madrid, who brought him into the youth team.
In the following four years, from 2000 to 2004, Kiko spent his time in the youth team of Madrid, where he developed his goalkeeping skills. Later, in 2004, he was promoted to the Madrid C national team and in 2006 to the Madrid reserve team, also known as Real Madrid Castilla.
Stint with Espanyol
After making the move to the Madrid reserve team, Kiko looked forward to more playing time, but things did not go as he had hoped. He had hoped to get more playing time after the departure of first-choice goalkeeper Cobeño, but Cobeño was replaced by Codina, while his Madrid colleague Antonio Adán was chosen as a substitute.
Kiko was frustrated at the only 5 appearances he was allowed to make for the team. In search of more playing time, he agreed to join Espanyol’s reserve team in a free transfer. But things were not immediately rosy for Kiko at Espanyol, as he was not automatically awarded the first-choice spot.
He made his debut for Espanyol in an away La Liga game against Real Valladolid in January 2008, and the team’s first choice was Carlos Kameni, who had been on international duty, so Iñaki Lafuente started the game, but after suffering an injury just two minutes after the start of the second half, Kiko came into the game as a substitute. Espanyol lost the game with a goal on 2.
In that January transfer window, Premier League club Arsenal expressed interest in Kiko, but no agreement was ever reached. Kiko would continue to receive little or no playing time as the team’s first choice returned and Argentinian Cristian Álvarez, the club’s new signatory, joined the club.
Kiko, still in 2008, joined Segunda Division B Cadiz on loan. He returned to Espanyol after his first season with the team but was sent back to Cartagena, another Segunda Division B team, on loan.
After he returned from this loan, Kiko effectively fought for more playing time. After Cristian Álvarez left the team, things became even easier, making Kiko Casilla the de facto goalkeeper of choice. During his stay with Espanyol, Kiko had a total of 115 appearances between 2008 and 2015. In his last two seasons with Espanyol, he scored over 200 saves.
Kiko Casilla Madrid return
After Kiko had become Espanyol’s goalkeeper of choice in the 2013/2014 season, many teams began to take an interest in him, including Real Madrid, who did not hesitate to call on his services in the team.
Kiko Casilla joined Real Madrid on 17 July 2015 after signing a five-year contract with the team for 6 million euros. After moving to Madrid, he quickly won the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Kiko Casilla International Career
Kiko Casilla started playing for the Spanish national team in 2005 as part of the U19 and later the U21. In August 2014 he was appointed to the senior national team by coach Vicente del Bosque. He made his debut in the senior national team in November 2014 in a friendly match against Germany. Kiko came into the game 14 minutes before injury time after he had been substituted for Iker Casillas.
Kiko is a married man. He’s married to a certain Rosa Isern. Together they have two children – a daughter named Ainara and a son named Julen, born in August 2016.
Kiko often publishes cute snapshots of his family on his Instagram page, where he has over 2 million followers.
Height and Weight
Kiko is 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) tall, which is one of his greatest strengths as a goalkeeper. He is often seen jutting over the defense to challenge crosses. Kiko weighs about 84 kg.