Captain Iker Casillas, Spain’s World Cup winner, has announced that he has pulled out of the running to become the next president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), citing a need for unity in the coronavirus pandemic.
Spain was one of the worst-affected pandemic countries, with more than 290,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of those who have returned a positive test, 27,136 have died.
“This makes the elections take a back seat,” he added. “I think it is time to add and not divide.”
Real Madrid’s great Casillas confirmed his intention to stand for the position in February, but his withdrawal means that Luis Rubiales will be re-elected in August unopposed.
Casillas, who won Euro 2008 and 2012 together with Spain in the 2010 World Cup, explained through a Twitter post that his decision was partly due to “the exceptional social, economic and health situation our country is suffering.”
“I wanted a fair, transparent and truly participatory electoral process, looking for the best for Spanish football,” he said.
However, the former goalkeeper from Madrid, who made 167 senior appearances for his country, insists that the decision to pull out does not mean a “closed-door for the future” and he said he could choose to run further down the line for the position.
After dropping his bid on Monday, Casillas said he might consider running for RFEF president in the future:
“I hope that in the next elections it can happen with me or with other candidates.”
Before leaving his boyhood club for Porto in 2015, Casillas won five LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues with Madrid.
The 39-year-old suffered a heart attack in May 2019 and was later added to the backroom team of the club, with Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa announcing that Casillas had retired from playing in February.