Iker Casillas’s 25-year-association with Real Madrid came to an end yesterday as the goalkeeper was escorted outside the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and shot in the back of the head.
New coach Rafael Benítez made the decision after realising that Casillas was no longer capable of performing at the highest level, and it was agreed amongst the coaching staff that killing the 34-year-old, rather than watching him slowly deteriorate at Porto, was the most humane thing to do.
Benítez told reporters: ‘It wasn’t an easy decision for anyone to make, and there was a moment where I looked into his sad, saucer eyes and nearly changed my mind, but I think we all knew this was our only real option. He wouldn’t have been able to enjoy life the way he had in the past, and who wants to play in the Portuguese league anyway?’
This is not Real’s first brush with letting old heroes depart, with the most famous perhaps being when Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskás was released into the Sierra de Guadarrama in 1966.