Real Madrid agree on deal to sign Espanyol keeper Kiko Casilla

Real Madrid have agreed to a deal to sign Espanyol goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

Casilla, who came through the youth ranks at Real, is returning to the Bernabeu in a €6 million transfer eight years after leaving Los Blancos to join Espanyol.

The 28-year-old is set to sign a five-year contract.

Espanyol president Joan Collet, who had turned down a €4m offer from Real last week, announced the deal had been reached on Friday after several weeks of negotiations.

"We have reached an agreement with all parties," Collet said in a news conference. "Kiko Casilla will be transferred to Real Madrid. The fee is €6m.

"Kiko told us that this is a unique opportunity for him and that this was his intention. He asked us to try to reach an agreement and this morning we have done so.

"This is a loss for us and we didn't expect it earlier this summer.

"We wish him the best of luck. The doors of this club will always be open [to him]."

Real Madrid also confirmed the agreement in a statement on their official website, which read: "Real Madrid C. F. and R. C. D. Espanyol have agreed to the transfer of Kiko Casilla, subject to a necessary medical examination. The player will be tied to the club for the next five seasons."

Casilla, who had three years left on his contract with Espanyol, started 37 league games for the club in 2014-15 and kept 13 clean sheets.

"I never thought I would go back," he said. "I am fortunate to go back. I'm very happy to have signed for Real Madrid.

"This is a new opportunity in my career and this train only comes once. I want to enjoy it. I need to take advantage and do the best I can."

Real had intensified their search for a goalkeeper this week following the departure of Iker Casillas to Porto.

They had been keen to sign David De Gea from Manchester United but negotiations have stalled and the Spain international may now join on a free transfer when his contract expires next summer.

Prior to the announcement, Real coach Rafa Benitez said he was not concerned about the situation despite Keylor Navas, who is currently injured, being the only experienced keeper on the books.

"I'm not worried about the goal," Benitez had said. "I know its measurements are 7.32 by 2.44 metres and that doesn't change.

"Whoever goes in between the posts knows what his job is. I've spoken to Keylor and, right now, he knows he is the keeper that is ahead of the rest in terms of quality and experience.

"If another goalkeeper arrives that will be great -- we will work with him. I'm optimistic in that respect and I am calm.

"We have good goalkeepers but if we can improve by adding more competition in that position, it will be something positive for the team."

Casilla said on Friday that he ready to compete for his place.

"My aim is to play and to be a starter," Casilla said. "Competition is always good, but first I have to get there."

He said he was ready for comparisons with Casillas, who spent 25 years at the Bernabeu.

"It's clear that there will be comparisons but I'm used to being under the microscope," Casilla said. "I'm going with the same enthusiasm that I had when I joined Real at the age of 14."

He added: "I always wish Casillas the best. I consider him the best goalkeeper in history and a legend that has left Real.

"It was his choice to leave."

Casilla thanked Espanyol for helping him have a smooth departure.

"I always said that if I left the club, I wanted to be sure that Espanyol would get money for my transfer," he said. "It's difficult for me to leave a club that I love and where I have been for several years.

"I'm thankful to the president and to the club for their efforts in reaching an agreement. I hope the fans understand my decision.

"I'm very proud to have been at Espanyol and I will always be a Perico fan."