UNDP appointed World Cup-winning Spanish football goalkeeper Iker Casillas as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on 24 January 2011. In this role, he has been focusing on issues affecting young people in developing countries, promoting poverty reduction, education and health.
Born in 1981, Casillas is no stranger to the tremendous needs of the poor in this world, and has shown on many occasions that he can be part of the solution.
“While my job on the pitch is to prevent goals, my job at UNDP will be to help score them,” said Casillas. “Bringing attention to the poor conditions people are enduring around the world is essential to motivate action on the world’s pledges to improve their lives.”
“UNDP works with people and their governments around the world to end poverty with solutions that will last,” Casillas said. “Only with that kind of team approach can we win the battle against poverty, and I am proud to add my personal commitment to this work.”
As UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, Casillas has appeared in numerous public service announcements in support of the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan and several videos on youth issues and inequalities in the Latin American region. Casillas also participated in the UNDP-supported “Lend Your Leg” campaign and promotes UNDP’s major events and activities through his Facebook page.
Casillas plays for the Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and serves as captain for both the Spanish national team and Real Madrid. As captain of the national side, he led a young Spanish team to their first European Championship in 44 years, his first senior international honour. In 2010, he led Spain to their first ever FIFA World Cup and won the Golden Glove for the tournament's best goalkeeper. He won the European Championship with Spain again in 2012, making it the only national side in history to win back-to-back European Championships and a World Cup in between.