Kiko Casilla: Has his time been served as Leeds’ Number One?
Kiko Casilla, the former Real Madrid goalkeeper and Champions League winner, moved to Leeds in January 2019. The transfer window was quiet for Leeds but Casilla replaced Bailey Peacock Farrell (who has since moved to Burnley) as Leeds’ primary goalkeeper. He was brought in and made the first-choice goalkeeper within a matter of games.
Over his time at Leeds’ he has been a very good keeper, if you exclude some of the mistakes, he made such as in the Derby play-off second leg, Nottingham Forest and Brentford games. He was made some mistakes but other than that, he has made some promising performances between the sticks.
He hasn’t come without controversy though. Casilla was found guilty (on the balance of probability) of racism against Johnathon Leko. It was in a match against Charlton Athletic at Elland Road and Kiko was alleged to have made a racist comment to him after a corner.
Casilla has to get character references, witnesses, and team mates to back his case. He had to take them down to Wembley to present his case to the jury of the Football Association. Despite all of these efforts, he was found guilty. They gave him an 8-match ban which he was required to serve.
He has been at the club for just over 18 months and his place in the pecking order is already in question, according to Football Insider. They have said that Marcelo Bielsa and the club are open for him to stay and fight for a place in the team.
Kiko is the club’s highest earner on over £45k per week. If he were just to sit on the bench for the rest of his contract, it would be a waste of money for the club. Illan Meslier, the French man, has shown himself as a more than capable replacement for the Spaniard, if needs be. He played in the goalkeeper position while Kiko Casilla was banned. He racked up 5 clean sheets and only conceded 3 goals, over a stretch of 8 matches.
He apparently fears that his reputation and credibility in the English game has been tarnished due to the racism case. Now that Leeds are back in the top flight, this would bring more spotlight on him and his past wrong doings. It has been reported recently that he has considered retiring and returning back to Spain. Others have said that he might quit Leeds and go somewhere else and play in another country.
The deal for Illan Mesiler was a loan with the option to buy after the year has been completed. This option to buy was exercised and the club bought him for £5 million as the first signing of the transfer window.
Casilla joined Leeds on a free deal and is currently earning around £45k per week. He did appear against Derby County in the penultimate game of the season which saw goals from Hernandez and Shackleton and Leeds ran out victorious as 3-1 winners. It was a stellar performance considering how much they had to drink in the days running up to the game.
Bielsa said that it was the most that the players had ran all season – a fact which shocked fans on Twitter.
Casilla’s future is to be discussed between Victor Orta, Andrea Radrizanni and Angus Kinner over the coming days. It will only be a matter of time before we get an update on it. Only time will tell…