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Spanish keeper Iker Casillas eyes MLS as way to ease into retirement

December 11, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • Goalkeeper Iker Casillas lifts the Euro 2012 trophy after Spain defeated Italy in the championship match, 4-0.
Goalkeeper Iker Casillas lifts the Euro 2012 trophy after Spain defeated… (Gregorio Borgia / Associated…)

Put Iker Casillas, goalkeeper of the world and European champion Spanish national team, on the growing list of international soccer stars who some day hope to play in Major League Soccer.

And while MLS would clearly welcome someone of Casillas' talent, it might not appreciate his reasons for coming.

"I would like to play out my soccer in the future in a more relaxed environment, and if I have to play somewhere else then it would be for a team that would not come into direct competition with Real Madrid,” Casillas, who plays for Real in Spain's La Liga, told Spanish television's La Sexta. “For example, in the USA, which I love.

"I would like to retire with Madrid, but if the critics are fierce when I am 31, imagine what they will be like when I’m 37.”

MLS isn't above pushing itself with European players but it usually touts itself as a competitive and improving soccer league and not as a relaxed vacation spot.

But Casillas admitted he is looking for some peace and tranquillity to live out his playing days after becoming the subject of criticism this season with Madrid trailing Barcelona by 11 points in the league standings.

In recent seasons MLS has become a destination of choice for aging internationals such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane. And in recent weeks Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Real Madrid's Kaka have both expressed interested in playing here as well.

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