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Former Real Madrid goalkeeper says Courtois is the best in the world, hails Bellingham’s impressive start

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Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Football’s allure often lies in its vibrant young talents, and among them, Jude Bellingham’s star shines brightly. At the ‘Festival dello Sport’ in Trento, Iker Casillas, the legendary former goalkeeper, shared his thoughts on the current state of football and its young talents, with a particular focus on Bellingham’s remarkable rise.

When speaking about the emerging talents in the football world, Casillas didn’t hesitate to applaud Jude Bellingham: “I think Jude Bellingham is a phenomenon. At just 20 years old, he has become a reference in football.”

Casillas also shared his insights into the development of football in Spain, where young talents have continued to emerge on the world stage: “Our clubs in Spain have won 34 European titles since 2000, surpassing Italy and Germany. The development of young players is crucial in our country.”

A proud product of Real Madrid’s youth system, Casillas offered a glimpse into the nurturing of young athletes: “I was a canterano of Real Madrid, and I know how well they nurture young athletes; they have excellent training facilities.”

However, he voiced his concerns about the shift in young people’s lifestyles, emphasizing, “One thing saddens me – you no longer see kids playing football in the streets; they spend hours on their phones instead. We need to bring back that spirit.”

In the context of goalkeepers, Casillas expressed his deep admiration for some of the legendary figures in the position: “As for goalkeepers, I have great admiration for Peter Schmeichel, and Gianluigi Buffon, who has always impressed me with his quality. He’s the best I’ve seen. Today, Thibaut Courtois is the best, and I also like Kepa Arrizabalaga; he received a lot of criticism but is replacing the Belgian well.”

Casillas also touched on Gianluigi Donnarumma, acknowledging the challenges faced by the young goalkeeper: “He is very good, and it’s unfortunate to see him receive so much criticism lately. He was a key figure in Italy’s Euro 2020 victory, and now he’s facing a difficult time at PSG. Starting at such a young age, almost like Buffon and me, requires a lot of courage.”

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