Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla joins LaLiga side Elche on loan as he ‘doesn’t want to sit on the bench for another season’… a year on from his eight-game ban for racially abusing West Brom’s Jonathan Leko
- Kiko Casilla has signed for LaLiga’s Elche CF on loan until the end of the season
- He wants more game time after making just three league appearances last term
- Elche, who narrowly avoided relegation, have agreed to pay a part of his wages
- They will also have the option to sign Casilla permanently at the end of his loan
Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has signed for LaLiga outfit Elche CF on loan until the end of the 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 has decided to leave the club and return home to Spain by joining Elche on a season-long loan.
Leeds United keeper Kiko Casilla has signed for Elche CF on loan until the end of the season
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.
Casilla will be looking to prove his worth during the loan spell after struggling to cement his place in the Leeds United first-team.
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.
The 34-year-old’s switch will also see him reunite with his family after claiming he found it hard to be separated from them during lockdown.
The Spaniard wants more first-team football after playing just three league games last term
Casilla was banned for eight games in 2020 after being found guilty of abusing Jonathan Leko
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.
Marcelo Bielsa (above) angered fans last season by captaining Casilla for a Carabao Cup game just months on from being found guilty for racially abusing an opponent
‘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.
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