Going into the 2018/19 group stage, Iker Casillas is one of only 11 players who have featured in 15 or more UEFA Champions League seasons; should he play for Porto this time, he will be participating in a record 20th campaign in Europe's top competition.
Now 37, Casillas has made more UEFA club competition appearances than any other player, though Cristiano Ronaldo is closing in on that particular record. However, the Portuguese forward will need to play at least four more seasons to match Casillas's current mark of 19 campaigns.
Lionel Messi, Pepe and Gianluigi Buffon can all join the 15-season club if involved in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League.
Players who have featured in the most UEFA Champions League seasons*
19 Iker Casillas (Real Madrid, Porto – 1999/2000–present)
19 Ryan Giggs (Man. United – 1994/95–2013/14, excluding 1995/96 campaign)
17 Paul Scholes (Man. United – 1998/99–2012/13, excluding 2011/12 campaign)
16 Xavi Hernández (Barcelona – 1998/99–2014/15, excluding 2003/04 campaign)
16 Arjen Robben (PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern – 2002/03–present)
15 Zlatan Ibrahimović (Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris, Man. United – 2002/03–2017/18, excluding 2016/17 campaign)
15 Raúl González (Real Madrid, Schalke – 1995/96–2010/11)
15 Gary Neville (Man. United – 1994/95–2009/10, excluding 1995/96 campaign)
15 Cristiano Ronaldo (Man. United, Real Madrid – 2003/04–present)
15 Ashley Cole (Arsenal, Chelsea, Roma – 2000/01–2014/15)
15 Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona – 2002/03–2017/18, excluding 2003/04)
*group stage to final
What makes Iker Casillas special?
"What a keeper! It is one thing to see him on television and another to have him in front of you. You already know he is really good, but I never had the opportunity to work with him until we trained together [ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup], and then you really see what he can do as a footballer."
Víctor Valdés, former Barcelona goalkeeper
"Iker has shown that he's a ten in everything he does – in goal, as a captain, in his behaviour ... He's a phenomenon."
Luis Aragonés, former Spain coach
"Iker was one of my idols. We've come up against each other a lot and he's a player with such good reflexes."
Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea and Belgium goalkeeper
"He has won everything there is to win and has been on the same great level for so many years now, which is possibly the hardest thing of all for a goalkeeper."
Gianluigi Buffon, Paris goalkeeper, speaking in 2012
"A great goalkeeper [whom] I've always thought highly of and viewed with great respect. [He is] never involved in anything negative and [has] always acted professionally at two great clubs, Real Madrid and Porto."
Francesco Toldo, former Inter Milan and Italy goalkeeper
"We know each other well. He's a great man and a great person. Iker is an icon and a monument of his club."
Francesco Totti, former Roma forward
"He has always been a joker – joyful, sincere and a really competitive person. He cheers you up and has plenty of energy, but it's always respectful. He's someone who participates, who contributes to the group. His leadership isn't forced, it's natural."
Xavi Hernández, former Barcelona midfielder and Spain team-mate
"Sometimes he is a bit of a pain in the neck, because we win a game and we are all happy and he comes in and says that we still haven't won anything and we still have a long road ahead. Iker found his peace at Porto and he is super-happy here."
Óliver Torres, Porto midfielder
What you might not know
• When he was "seven or eight", a rare Casillas slip cost his family a fortune: his father filled in his football pools coupon and got all 14 results right, but lost out on a seven-figure fee because his son forgot to hand the form in. "It wasn't a big deal, just a bit stupid; it happens," Casillas recalled.
• On the books at Real Madrid from age nine, the 16-year-old Casillas first learned he had been named in the squad for a UEFA Champions League game when his school headmaster called him out of a lesson to tell him.
• Casillas is the youngest goalkeeper to win the UEFA Champions League, figuring in Real Madrid's 3-0 defeat of Valencia in 2000 just four days after his 19th birthday.
• He was nicknamed 'The Saint' after saving two penalties in a 2002 World Cup shoot-out against Republic of Ireland; he was only first choice for Spain because Santiago Cañizares missed the tournament after being injured by a shard of glass from a broken aftershave bottle.
• He is proud of his down-to-earth roots in the Madrid suburbs; when Real Madrid were famous for superstar players, the keeper said: "I'm no 'Galáctico', I'm from Mostoles."
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