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End of an era as Casillas leaves Real Madrid for Porto

12 July 2015, 10:43

Madrid - Real Madrid's emblematic captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas is set to leave the club for FC Porto after 25 years during which he won everything in the game with the Spanish giants.

"Real Madrid and FC Porto have agreed the transfer of Iker Casillas to the Portuguese club," Real Madrid said in a statement on Saturday after three days of intense negotiations.

At 34 years Casillas leaves a club with which he grew up, joining Real's youth academy aged nine in 1990 and winning 19 trophies during his 16 seasons as a professional.

"One of the best goalkeepers in this club is not just leaving, today the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the club and in the history of Spanish football is moving on to a new stage in his footballing career," the statement said.

Casillas had two years left on his contract, but the highly-anticipated transfer is seen as an historic turning point for the club who are reported to be trying to recruit Manchester United's 24-year-old Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea in a bid to rejuvenate after finishing second in La Liga last season behind Barcelona, who also won the Champions League title.

"Iker is leaving, but his legacy is here forever. His attitude and actions in the 725 games he played in the our jersey shine a light on the path for those who dream of being part of this team," the statement said.

"For Real Madrid today is a day, above all, of thanks and recognition .... This goodbye evokes thousands of sensations and memories charged with hope, anticipation, sacrifice, strength and unique triumph," the club said.

In 2010 Casillas made front pages worldwide in a photograph of him raising the World Cup in South Africa after leading Spain to the title for the first time.

But last summer the image was of a dejected Casillas on his knees as a rout by the Netherlands helped dump Spain out of the World Cup in Brazil.

With Madrid, Casillas had enchanted the Bernabeu Stadium for years with his catlike reflexes, gravity-defying saves and fearless one-on-ones, earning the nickname "Saint Iker" from fans.

A World Cup winner and two-time European champion with Spain, Casillas had clinched five Spanish titles, three Champions League trophies and two King's Cup crowns since making his first-team debut with Real Madrid in 1999.

Casillas had fallen out of favour during Jose Mourinho's reign at Real but returned to the side after the Portuguese left for Chelsea, winning the Champions League for a third time in 2014.

"Thank you Iker, for everything you have done. Thank you for being a symbol of the best in our history. You are going but we will never forget that you'll always belong to the heart of Real Madrid," the club statement added.

Porto, coached by former Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Julen Lopetegui, will compete in next season's Champions League after finishing runners-up to Benfica in the 2014-15 Portuguese season.

Lopetugui already has six Spaniards in his squad and both his assistant coaches are Spanish.

CORD Leader Raila Odinga was present at the first edition of the Luo Festival in Nairobi Saturday where he addressed a massive crowd.

The CORD leader was received by huge cheers at the Carnivore Grounds Saturday night after being invited on stage to make a speech.

He steered clear of politics during his speech.

" I urge you to enjoy yourselves as that is what we have come to do here and to enjoy being Kenyans and in Kenya," he said in a mixture of Luo and Swahili, English.

He was accompanied by his wife Ida Odinga.

Earlier in the day, the CORD leader had called on his supporters to gear for war in the 2017 elections, saying that he was in the race to win it.

He stated that he has the tools to win an election he describes as crucial to the country.

" I am in the race and my strategy for winning it is in place. It is up to you now to register as voters and go ahead to vote," he said during a funeral in Ahero.

Raila also insisted that graft at the National Youth Service must be dealt with and that he would not relent until Devolution CS Anne Waiguru was kicked out of office.

" The government has to fight corruption at all costs and show Kenyans that it is serious with the war against graft," he added.

Raila was  speaking at the burial of Mzee Ogindo Oyamo, a former aide to his late father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

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