New Leeds United goalkeeper has Premier League ambition

New signing: Kiko Casilla.
New signing: Kiko Casilla.

The prospect of playing Premier League football with Leeds United has persuaded Kiko Casilla to leave Real Madrid to become the Elland Road club’s new goalkeeper.

Casilla was unveiled as the first signing of the current transfer window this morning and cannot wait to get started in England where he knows he has a job to do with Leeds, who are pushing for promotion from the Championship.

After putting pen to paper on a four-and-a-half year deal the 32-year-old Spain international said: “I’m really happy. I want to start a new challenge in English football and I’m really keen to start as soon as possible.

“Leeds United is a really historic club in England, with a massive fanbase that is perfect. My desire is to help put the club in its real place in the Premier League.”

Casilla admitted he had asked players who worked under current United head coach Marcelo Bielsa for their opinions of him.

He said: “I have a lot of information from when he worked in Spain.

“I watched the teams when he worked there and I talked with former players who worked with him. They told me amazing things. I’m really happy to work with him.

“I want to try and help my team with my experience but always being natural and humble.

“I like keepers who stay calm. For me this is the best trait for a goalkeeper and this is important in my way of play.”

Casilla started his career at Real Madrid, before moving to Espanyol in 2007, from where he had loan stints at Cádiz CF and FC Cartagena.

He went onto establish himself as Espanyol’s first choice goalkeeper and his performances led to a first international cap for Spain in November 2014.

At the end of the 2014-15 La Liga campaign, Casilla was re-signed by Real Madrid, eight years after leaving for Espanyol and in the past three seasons, he has made 43 appearances in all competitions.

He played games in each of Real’s UEFA Champions League successes in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and was also between the sticks for their UEFA Super Cup Final success in 2016.

On top of this, Real also won La Liga, the Supercopa de España, three FIFA Club World Cup’s and a second UEFA Super Cup during his second stint at the club.