Iker Casillas left a 'bad taste' with Spain staff - Vicente del Bosque
Outgoing Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has revealed that his relationship with long-time national captain Iker Casillas suffered when the goalkeeper was left on the bench during Euro 2016.
Casillas had been Spain's first-choice goalkeeper at every tournament since Euro 2000, winning 167 caps and lifting the Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 trophies, before then receiving criticism as the team exited the 2014 World Cup at the group stage.
Del Bosque chose David De Gea, 25, for this summer's tournament in France, with the Manchester United keeper mixing some mistakes with fine saves as Spain beat Czech Republic and Turkey in their opening games, then lost to Croatia in their final group outing and were soundly beaten 2-0 in the round of 16 by Italy.
The 65-year-old coach, who has confirmed he will leave his position with the national team, told the El Larguero radio show that Casillas had not behaved well with his long-time manager nor the other members of Spain's coaching team during the tournament.
"For sure Casillas is hurting with me, I understand it," Del Bosque said. "With his teammates and colleagues he was perfect -- with the coaching team 'so-so.' The only one who I have not sent a message [after tournament] to is Casillas; he was not good with the coaches. He did not speak to me either. It leaves a bad taste that with us, with [assistant coach] Toni [Grande], with [fitness coach Javier] Minano, with me, he was not the same as with his teammates."
Del Bosque added that he was sure over time he would patch things up with Casillas, who he had first encountered as a nine-year-old in Real Madrid's youth system.
"Casillas was only angry with us [coaches]," he said. "With his teammates he was perfect, on the bench supporting the team. For sure we will sort it out in the future. I have known him since he was nine years old, I know his parents, and I think very highly of him."
Del Bosque said he had not recently spoken with Spanish FA (RFEF) president and current acting UEFA chief Angel Maria Villar over his future but his plan was to step aside once his contract ended on July 31.
"It has been eight years already," he said. "The president knows what I am thinking -- I told him a long time ago that this Euros would be my last. This is what is good for the players, for the federation, for me, there is no secret.
"We are waiting for [Villar] to finish his work at the Euros, and we will stay in the job until the last day. I saw headlines about 'Del Bosque resigning' or meetings on the plane back, which is just silly stuff. But it is true we will not continue. I will never say goodbye to football, but the new national coach should not have anyone [above him]."
The favourite for the post is Joaquin Caparros, who impressed as coach of Sevilla from 2000 to 2005 and Athletic Bilbao from 2007 to 2011, but has most recently had less successful spells in charge of Neuchatel Xamax, Mallorca, Levante and Granada.
The Andalusian said on Onda Cero show Al Primer Toque that he did not want to speak too much with Del Bosque still in the position.
"It is difficult to talk about being national coach when there is someone still doing the job," Caparros said. "I have always said, if you ask any coach if they would be excited to manage their country and they will tell you it is exciting. I feel that way too."
AS reports that Caparros is Villar's preferred coach for the role and over the last year has turned down offers from clubs including Malaga and Espanyol to remain free to take up an offer from the federation.
"I had some options to take other jobs, but I said no," Caparros said. "This last year has been a time to learn, to reflect, and analyse. I have seen a lot of Spanish and international football. I believe I am a better coach than last season."
Caparros also praised Del Bosque, whom he first met when at Real Madrid's Castilla youth team in the late 1970s.
"[Del Bosque] is an example, not just for what he has given us, but for the values he transmits," Caparros said. "It is not easy to know how to [behave when you] win. He has always been very accessible for all the coaches who have wanted to speak with him."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan