XTB Global Ambassador
Iker Casillas Fernández is a Spanish professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. Popularly named "San Iker" for his ability to produce spectacular saves, Casillas is widely considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
Iker started his career with the Real Madrid youth team, eventually gaining promotion to the main team in 1999, where he became the youngest goalkeeper to play in the final of the Champions League, and to win the title, at 19. He became the first choice goalkeeper at Real Madrid, winning two Champions Leagues and La Liga titles in his first three seasons. That made him one of the best goalkeepers in the world. After 25 years with Real Madrid, in 2015 Casillas joined FC Porto, where he won the Primeira Liga and a Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira title. While at Porto, he broke the record with twenty consecutive seasons played in the UEFA Champions League. With 167 international caps he also has the second most appearances for the Spain national team. As a captain he led the team to the European Championship title in 2008 and to their first World Cup win in 2010. Iker became one of four players to represent Spain at four World Cups.
Iker Casillas was recognized throughout his career, for his performances as a youngster, and due to his ability to make decisive saves. He was known in particular for his outstanding agility, reflexes, and concentration. A great talent in his youth, Casillas kept his consistency at the top level as well as his discipline in training. He is one of the few players to achieve over 1000 professional career matches, and holds the record for the most clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League, as well as for the Spain national team.
Our interview with Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas is the first Spanish captain who guided Spain to their world cup glory in 2010. Popularly dubbed "San Iker", he is known for his passion, decisiveness and the ability to motivate his teammates. Moreover, he is considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the entire history of soccer. In this exclusive interview for XTB, Iker reveals his recipe for success in sport, which can easily be translated to success in the investment world.
You have been developing your passion for football for many years - from the first trainings in Real Madrid's La Fabrica to a permanent place in Spain’s national team. How did you find your motivation for continuous improvement?
Iker Casillas: I was lucky enough to play for the greatest teams, like Real Madrid, Porto or the Spanish National Team, and consequently there was a strong competition there so simply I could never afford to relax.
What is your best advice to others on motivation and going beyond the limits?
In fact no one knows where their limits are. This is the reason why you can always try to be better at your job. The day you think you have reached your limit, you will have to start thinking about retreating.
What is most important for you in football? Are there any lessons from sports that could be translated to life?
Football in particular and sport in general are a guiding light for society. They represent values such as effort, resilience, teamwork, willpower and companionship. These are all very important virtues for any area of life. Not to mention health and body care.
Football as well as investing can be unpredictable. Sometimes when you’re on the wave, an unexpected injury can bench you for some time. What has been the biggest situation in your career that didn't go as you expected?
My sports career wasn’t all roses. One of the hardest moments was when I suffered a fracture in my left hand in 2013. But without a doubt, the worst moment was when I suffered the heart attack that took me out of football and almost cost me my life.
What top tips can you offer to someone who is dealing with a situation that didn't go as expected?
Persist and keep trying. That does not mean that you are going to achieve your goal, but the worst feeling you can have is to be left with the doubt that you have not given everything. That's the most frustrating.
Goalkeepers’ role in a team is unique - they form the last line of defense. How did you deal with the responsibility for having the team's back?
I have never played in another position. I've always been a goalkeeper, so I developed that sense of responsibility of being the last obstacle for the rival since I was a child. But being a team captain is another story - that usually comes with the years, experience and having earned the respect of your colleagues.
As a player you have probably often felt the pressure from a coach, teammates, and also from fans. What has been the most highly pressured situation you have had to face in your career? How did you deal with that?
Pressure is something you live with if you play for Real Madrid and the Spanish National Team. But it is true that there are specific moments, such as the debut in San Mamés stadium or playing Champions League, European Championship or World Cup finals, in which the pressure is so great that it is essential to be very strong mentally and be surrounded by great professionals and good teammates to help you withstand that pressure.
Investors know that sometimes you need to make difficult decisions. You had to make those with regards to your career. What would you advise to those who need to make tough choices?
Decisions should not be made on the spur of the moment. When a difficult situation arises, you have to be thoughtful and listen to people you trust with the certainty that they will always want the best for you. Experts who make a difference and are the best partner to make your decisions.
You spent most of your career in one club and have been often praised for your role in successfully uniting your squad in the dressing room. As the captain of Spain’s national team you led them to the European Championship title. How important is it to take leadership?
Being a true leader is not something you can learn or study. It comes through experience and the feeling that you have gained the trust and respect of your peers.
When did you start investing? What types of investments do you usually choose?
While I was still a footballer, I made simple investments, usually listening to my trusted people. Once I retired, I launched myself into more complicated and innovative projects, such as the accelerator that helps certain startups linked to sports to develop. I always say that in Spain there is a lot of talent that deserves an opportunity.
What do you consider to be the key for successful investors?
I am not an expert on the matter, so it is essential to be well advised. But I think that the key to a good investment is to find the balance between risk and return. And in addition, having the necessary information and training together with the support of experts.
Iker Casillas joins XTB brand ambassadors team
Iker Casillas, one of the world’s best goalkeepers of all time, will be the new brand ambassador for XTB. This partnership between the investing company and the former captain of the best generation of Spanish football responds to the long-term marketing strategy of XTB.
“I am very proud to unite my image with XTB, one of the top global investing companies. In football, as in finance, you need training, good support and the mentality of a winner”, says Iker Casillas.
Iker Casillas joins the team of brand ambassadors of global fintech. XTB is known to team up with some of the greatest names in the world of sports, such as the recently named global brand ambassador Conor McGregor, a multi-weight UFC champion, entrepreneur and global business and athletic icon, Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Polish martial arts fighter and former UFC champion and Jiří Procházka, a Czech mixed martial artist and current UFC featherweight champion.
“Iker Casillas is an example of work, passion, perseverance and excellence in everything he does, also now in his role as an investor and entrepreneur, and a person who continues to learn and grow professionally. The financial markets have evolved rapidly in recent years. More and more customers are looking beyond their playing field to invest their money. Our new XTB ambassador has built his success by hard work, strategy and with a strong winning mentality. That capacity for teamwork, leadership and his professionalism in his work are attributes that we share at XTB” - adds Omar Arnaout, CEO of XTB.
Casillas, who was considered for five years to be the world's best goalkeeper by FIFA and UEFA through his FIFA/FIFAPro World XI and UEFA Team of the Year awards, and who is currently assistant to the general director of the Real Madrid foundation, will appear in the new XTB spot in a casual scene surrounded by people who invest. The campaign reflects a new social reality: thanks to cutting-edge technology and development of digital tools, diversification and the search for investment alternatives, which have become accessible to all those who are ready to start investing their money. In their new campaign with Casillas, XTB highlights the need to have a high quality investment partner, as well as the advantages of investing with XTB, one of the most recognised, safe and competitive global investment companies. The former Real Madrid player highlights the advantages of XTB and its online investing platform, featuring market analysis, information, education and support.