Real Madrid goalkeeper Ilker Casillas knows something about ‘keeping. Alongside Petr Cech, Edwin van der Sar and Gianluigi Buffon, Casillas has arguably been the world’s finest over the past decade. Casillas now believes Manchester City’s Joe Hart is ready to take over the mantle – if he makes the crosstown switch to United first!
“Teams like Manchester United and AC Milan have ageing keepers and Joe would be perfect for either of them,” said Casillas.
“If I am being honest, over the last five years I don’t think there has been a keeper close to Gigi Buffon, or myself. But from what I have seen of Joe Hart, he really can be great.
“When Buffon and I are well into our 30s Joe will be at his peak and I expect him to be the number one keeper in the world. Everything he does is so natural and he has that goalkeeper’s instinct, which you can’t just learn.
“But like so many of City’s players, Hart needs to play Champions League football. If he doesn’t get it, he won’t stay. I think it’s fine if you want to go and be part of the revolution at City. But I would suggest all players write clauses into their contract about being able to leave the club if they don’t make it into the Champions League.”
Not that Hart would be the first City play to want out. To date Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz, Robinho (now departed), Steven Ireland (also departed), Emmanuel Adebayor, and even new signing Mario Ballotelli have professed a wish to play their football elsewhere.
Who can blame them?