Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas has set his sights high with both his club and national teams.
Speaking to FIFA.com, one of the world’s best shotstoppers declared: “Real Madrid’s aim is to win a title.”
“This year we need to return as a European power and I believe that, as a minimum, we deserve to be in the semi-finals and be one of the top four teams in Europe.
In La Liga, we are obligated to win and we should return to dominate our nation.”
Real went top of the Spanish league last weekend courtesy of a comeback win over Sevilla. After trailing by two goals, Real equalised with two goals in four minutes just after the hour mark.
It seemed that was how things would end at the Bernabeu before Rafael van der Vaart popped in to score the winner deep into injury time. This win, combined with Barcelona’s 202 draw at Almeria was enough to send Los Blancos top of the La Liga.
Casillas sounded confident after this win.
“Last year we did not earn any titles, but we achieved a balance and corrected some things we were doing wrong. This year, the team is better equipped and we are fit to fight for both the Champions League and against Barcelona for La Liga.
“We have made great efforts by bringing players like Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Raul Albiol. Now we must see how the team responds on the pitch and we cannot fail our president or our fans,” he said.
Casillas also revealed his national ambitions with Spain. The Euro 2008 champions are touted as favourites for this summer’s World Cup in South Africa and the keeper would be deligted if that were to happen.
“I would love it. It would be extraordinary to lift the World Cup. But these are only words and what are important are events. When we arrive in South Africa, we can make it a reality. I think that [national coach] Vicente del Bosque’s work has been impeccable in helping us achieve this objective.
However, he sounded a note of caution amidst all the hype surrounding the national side.
“But times have changed and other teams are beginning to understand and adapt to our play. They know the moments to attack us and create problems. We want to continue our good form,” he said.
Spain have an adavantage over other fancied teams in South Africa, having already played in the country for the Confederations Cup.
We have already played matches in South Africa and that will do us well. For example, for us it was a new experience to play in June with cold weather [being that in the southern hemisphere, South Africa’s winter begins in June], but now we have had that experience.
We know the climate, the people, the stadiums and our adaptation will be faster. We intend to do better than we did in the Confederations Cup and it will be a very demanding World Cup. ”
“Our aim is to earn the nine points and be first in the group. The knockout stages will be more difficult, but if we want to win a World Cup, we have to win against the best teams,” concluded the ace-keeper.