- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Real Madrid acquired goalkeeper Kiko Casilla from fellow Spanish club Espanyol on Friday to replace departed talisman Iker Casillas.

Espanyol president Joan Collet announced Casilla’s transfer to Madrid. He said Madrid agreed to pay six million euros ($6.5 million) for the 28-year-old goalie.

Casilla said he would sign a five-year contract with Madrid, and travel to join his new teammates during their preseason tour in Australia.

His arrival to Rafa Benitez’s new team will dampen speculation linking Manchester United goalie David de Gea and Madrid.

Casilla will compete with Keylor Navas for playing time after Casillas left Madrid following 16 seasons to join Porto last week.

Casilla said he was prepared to fill the void left by a player he, like many Madrid fans, considered a “legend.”

“For me he is the best goalkeeper in history, but I have been given this opportunity and I want to make the most of it,” Casilla said. “Comparisons will be made. And the pressure won’t be the same, but I am pretty used to it.”

Casilla played for Madrid’s youth teams before stints with different Spanish clubs. His steady improvement in Espanyol’s net for the past four seasons earned him a debut for Spain when he replaced Casillas in a friendly against Germany in 2014.

Madrid also brought back fellow youth product Lucas Vazquez from Espanyol this offseason.

The Barcelona-based club faces a major rebuilding project after losing strikers Sergio Garcia and Christian Stuani, besides the forward and goalkeeper now with Madrid.

Collet said he was negotiating with Madrid to get Marco Asensio, a promising youth player, on loan.

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