The long time love affair (and hate affair for some) with Iker Casillas has ended.

After 25 years, a quarter of a century, and 725 games with the club, canterano, captain, leader and icon is leaving the club and joining Portuguese club Porto.

After a move to Roma collapsed, Porto became the leaders in signing the goalkeeper that lifted the elusive La Decima. And over the past few days, the deal almost went dead due to Iker’s salary demands and Real Madrid’s reluctance to pay the gap left between the two in order to facilitate the transfer. But on Saturday, 11 July 2015, the club made the deal official and brought to curtains an end of an era for Real Madrid, for Iker and for a generation of Madridistas.

The official statement read:

Real Madrid C. F. and FC Porto have agreed for the sale of Iker Casillas to the Portuguese club.

Today for Real Madrid, is a day, above all, of thanks and acknowledgement. One of the club’s best ever players is leaving us. Today a new chapter begins for the best goalkeeper in the history of Real Madrid and the history of Spanish football.

There is therefore in this goodbye, plenty of sensations and memories;  full of hope, sacrifice, dreams, effort and unique triumphs. Iker Casillas has brought so much to the Real Madrid club badge. He has been our captain and carved out his name in football since joining Real Madrid as a child of just nine years of age.

Real Madrid are 113 years old and Casillas has been with us for 25 of those years. During this time Iker has established himself as one of football’s greats and has gained respect and admiration from football fans everywhere, irrespective of their team loyalties.

3 European Cups, 1 Club World Cup, 2 Intercontinental Cups, 2 Euro Super Cups, 5 League titles, 2 Copa del Rey wins and 4 Spanish Super Cups with Real Madrid, along with 1 World Cup and 2 Euro Cups with the Spanish national team are part of his personal history. There are more awards: Zamora and Bravo trophies as well as being nominated ‘Best goalkeeper in the World’ on five occasions. He also won the ‘Príncipe de Asturias’ award for sport.

The list is impressive and never ending, but above all, he is a badge of pride for all Real Madrid fans. Iker is leaving but his legacy will remain. His performances during his 725 games for the club are an example for the rest who are involved in the club.

Thanks Iker, for all you have done. Thanks for playing a part in our history. Although you are leaving, never forget that you will always have Real Madrid in your heart.

At this time, with much difficulty to pen down my thoughts on Iker’s exit, I will end with a quote by Iker that came after his battle to regain his number one place over Diego Lopez. A quote that defines him and his love for Real Madrid.

I’ve cried, I’ve suffered, I’ve been unwell, I’ve had sleepless nights. I’m a Madridista by soul and, above all that, what matters to me is the club.

Gracias Iker y buena suerte!