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Butragueno backs Casillas for Ballon d´Or

SoccerNews in La Liga 11 Jul 2008

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Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas, who played a key role in Spain's Euro 2008 victory, should win the Ballon d'Or award as the world footballer of the year, Spanish legend Emilio Butragueno said Friday.

“Tradition dictates that only forwards win the award. But Iker is a special goalkeeper, not just this year, but throughout his career,” the former Real Madrid striker and vice-president told the club's website.

“The fact that he's a European champion and the role he played in the quarter-finals make him deserve it more than anyone. He must win the Balon d'Or,” he added.

Casillas, 27, only allowed two regular-time goals in the Euro 2008 tournament, both in the group stage.

The captain became a national hero after he saved two penalty kicks in the quarter-finals as Spain beat Italy 4-2 in a shootout after a 0-0 draw.

The winner of the Ballon d'Or award is selected by a panel of journalists and soccer officials in a vote organized by France Football magazine since 1956.

The prize was restricted to European footballers until last year when France Football changed the qualifications, opening the award up to players from the rest of the world, regardless of nationality.

AC Milan's Brazilian midfielder Kaka won the Ballon d'Or award in 2007.

Russia's Lev Yashin of Dynamo Moscow was the last keeper to win the award in 1963.

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