In the dying minutes of Real Madrid CF's Group C encounter with Olympiacos CFP, substitute Darko Kovačević thought he had rescued a point for his team with a well directed shot on target. To the Serb's dismay, however, Iker Casillas responded to the effort with a diving save that ensured Madrid ran out eventual 4-2 winners.
Recognising his intervention at a crucial stage of the game and feeling relieved with the final outcome, Casillas said: "It was a big moment for us because it was almost 3-3. I was lucky that I was able to get something on the ball. I think that the result was a good one for us because we couldn't afford to drop points at home at this stage of the competition. The match was difficult and the team responded to those difficulties very well."
Casillas, who was making his 81st UEFA Champions League appearance in the game against the Greek champions, also had special praise for team-mate Robinho who scored twice and had a hand in both of Madrid's other goals. "Robinho was phenomenal," he said. "The fans really appreciated him and we all saw that what he did out on the pitch was fantastic."
Despite the Brazilian's heroics and Javier Ángel Balboa's strike in stoppage time, it was the chant of "Iker, Iker" that rang around the Santiago Bernabéu until the final whistle brought the game to a close. "It was a very emotional moment for me," the Madrid custodian admitted. "Of course I enjoy it when the crowd call out my name because it means that the fans value the work I do for the team. It also means we are doing well collectively. I can't criticise the fans at Real Madrid and I'm going to continue to work hard to ensure they continue to appreciate my performances."
Nominated for the Ballon D'Or award, the winner of which will be announced on 2 December, Casillas preferred to talk up the chances of a fellow team-mate. "I think that for a goalkeeper to win it would be difficult," he said. "To be honest, I think that Raúl González would be the most logical winner as he is a player that has really shown his quality."
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