Sunday, July 11, 2021

Mail 9/7/21 Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla is 'QUITTING' to join LaLiga side Elche

Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla is leaving the club this summer to join Elche

He wants more game time after making just three league appearances last term

French stopper Illan Meslier has secured his place as Marcelo Bielsa's No 1

Casilla leaves the club just over a year after being banned for racist abuse

By JORDAN SEWARD

Kiko Casilla is reportedly quitting Leeds to join LaLiga side Elche because he doesn't want to sit on the bench for another season.

The former Real Madrid keeper played just three times in the Premier League last season, having lost the No 1 spot to Illan Meslier last February after serving an eight-match suspension for racial abuse.

Casilla is aware that his game time will be limited once again next season and, according to The Mirror, will leave the club so he can return home to Spain by joining Elche on a season-long loan.

Elche, who narrowly avoided relegation from LaLiga last season, have reportedly agreed to pay a portion of his wages and will have the option to sign Casilla on a permanent basis at the end of his loan.

The 34-year-old also wanted to be closer to his family, having found it hard to be separated from them during lockdown and will likely get regular first-team football with Elche.

Casilla's time at Elland Road was marred by his racial abuse charge, having been found guilty in February 2020 of using racist language towards West Brom's Jonathan Leko during a game against Charlton.

He was subsequently hit with an eight-game suspension and has only made four league appearances for the club since.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa caused controversy last season when he named Casilla as captain for their Carabao Cup clash with Hull.

A number of Leeds fans were angered by the decision to give Casilla the armband.

One Twitter user wrote: 'Please, why is Kiko Casilla still at Leeds, how is being guilty of racism not violation of contract and a kick in the teeth to play him and captain him.

'What does the new patch on the sleeve say? Seems like there's plenty of room for racism.'

Another said: 'The one thing that has been mismanaged at Leeds over the past 6-12 months is Kiko Casilla, regardless of evidence, once found guilty he should have been let go and certainly never captain a Leeds United side ever.'

Defending his decision at the time, Leeds boss Bielsa said: 'His team-mates think he deserves to be the captain and we have to listen to those messages. The players see in their captain someone who they think can represent them.

'I respect the thoughts of any person. After that, opinions can be argued. Surely those who judge Kiko ignore a lot of things his team-mates see in him.

'Of course we also value the conduct of Kiko, which only we can judge because we are part of the group.

'When you are subject to what other people judge you for or think, it doesn't matter what we think, we have to accept the decision of the authorities.

'It is also important that you may not know what percentage of the fanbase actually didn't want Kiko as captain, because the opinion of the masses should always be heard.

'Surely the public won't have all the information that his team-mates will have.'

The same report claims Leeds director of football Victor Orta has already found a replacement for back-up keeper Casilla.

He is also working hard on capturing Ryan Kent from Rangers and Manchester United's Daniel James.