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Madrid stars 'tie the knot for life'

Real Madrid CF stalwarts Raúl González and Iker Casillas have made a St Valentine's Day commitment to the Spanish champions by signing lifelong contracts.

Iker Casillas (centre) and Raúl González (right) have been the cornerstones of Madrid for the last decade
Iker Casillas (centre) and Raúl González (right) have been the cornerstones of Madrid for the last decade ©Getty Images

Six-year extension
Striker Raúl, 30, and 26-year-old goalkeeper Casillas both came through the youth ranks at the club and have become synonymous with Madrid's huge success of the past decade. Club president Ramón Calderón said: "On St Valentine's Day, Raúl and Iker have tied the knot for life. Raúl's deal was due to expire in 2010 so we have added another year on to it and after that there's a clause whereby he will automatically renew his contract for another season as long as he plays 30 competitive games. As for Casillas, his contract has been extended [by six years] until 2016/17 and after that, as is the case with Raúl, he will automatically see his contract extended each season if he plays 30 competitive games."

Raúl determined
Raúl made his first-team debut in 1994 and with nearly 300 Madrid goals has helped the Merengues to three UEFA Champions League titles, a competition in which he was the first player to score 50 times, and five league titles. He is also Spain's all-time leading scorer with 44 goals in 102 appearances. The club captain said: "We reached the agreement in five minutes. I'm delighted because it shows the club values my work and I'm committed to giving my all for this club. I want to keep proving to myself, to the team, and to the coach that I can carry on playing each season."

'Dream come true'
Capped 74 times by Spain, Casillas has claimed three league titles and two UEFA Champions League crowns during his time at the Santiago Bernabéu. He said: "It's a very important day. I've been here all my life and I want to thank the whole club for its support. Another dream has come true and I'll be at the club for a very long time." The pair will continue their bid for further European glory when Madrid visit AS Roma in the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.