'One of the world's great players' - Casillas tips Bellingham as future Real Madrid captain

By Sports Desk June 20, 2024

Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas believes Jude Bellingham has all the makings of a future captain after his impressive debut season in LaLiga.

Bellingham finished as top scorer with 19 goals to help Madrid to their 36th LaLiga title while also providing six assists, and was voted LaLiga Player of the Season.

He scored a further four for Los Blancos in the Champions League as they won a record-extending 15th continental title.

The 20-year-old is also a key figure in Gareth Southgate's side at Euro 2024 and scored England's winning goal when they beat Serbia 1-0 in their group opener last Sunday.

Casillas is pleased with how quickly Bellingham adapted to life in Madrid and expects him to continue his impressive rise in the coming seasons, even though he will be asked to take on more responsibility.

"Bellingham has made it at the most important club in the world and has shown that he is a great player and that he can be there," Casillas said.

"Now, and next year, more may be asked of him, but that is what will make him a star.

"Let's see if he can also consolidate this way of playing. He is one of the great players in the world."

Casillas, who himself was Real Madrid captain, added: "He can surely be the captain of Real Madrid, of course.

"He has everything to form the role.

"There are more experienced players at the top [now], but I would advise him to continue learning from the veterans there, soaking up the history of the club, and to do everything he can to be a great player and captain.

"He plays for England, who are very strong and already [made the final] in a tough championship three years ago. He has what it takes to adapt to the Euros."

Spain also made a winning start to the European Championships, cruising past Croatia 3-0 in their first match in the so-called ‘group of death’.

With a marquee match-up with Italy next up, Casillas thinks La Roja's chances at the tournament will be much clearer after the result is known on Thursday.

Asked how far Spain can go, Casillas replied: "I don't know, there is still a lot of competition left and we have to play against Italy, which I think is going to be a more serious and a tougher challenge than Croatia.

"I was impressed with Spain winning 3-0, which has encouraged me as the Spanish fan that I am.

"But the match against Croatia was also a bit tricky, [the goals came] all at once Croatia had to do it all and, in the end, they were unlucky [to lose by three].

"I think we must see how Spain perform in the next game [against Italy]. That is the match where we are going to really measure their strength. We will see how that goes."

Casillas captained Spain to three major trophies, winning the Euros in back-to-back editions in 2008 and 2012, while also lifting the World Cup in 2010.

"I remember the moments of intense concentration we had [when playing this tournament]," he added. "I started in the Euros in 2000, 24 years ago, when I was 18 years old, and from there it was so much growth, step by step as I improved my level.

"Then I was very lucky to win two Euros trophies, and we got to contribute to making millions of Spaniards incredibly happy.

"We haven't reached the maximum levels of passion for this tournament yet. From the quarter-finals onwards we will really see the teams that are strong after the group stage and round of 16 have been played.

"That's where we will have a lot of fun! I have always loved this competition and really like it when they go to the quarter-finals."
 

Iker Casillas is a brand ambassador for Hisense's UEFA EURO 2024 campaign BEYOND GLORY which celebrates the relentless pursuit of excellence shared by professional footballers aiming for EURO honours and Hisense’s commitment to pushing boundaries in the home appliance industry.

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