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Jan 25, 2013

Diego Lopez to replace Iker Casillas

Real Madrid has agreed to a deal to sign goalkeeper Diego Lopez from Sevilla on a four-and-a-half year contract.

Madrid swooped for the 31-year-old Lopez, a former player at the Bernabeu, following confirmation Friday that Iker Casillas could be out for up to three months with a hand injury.

Casillas will miss 8-12 weeks after undergoing surgery on a broken bone in his left hand Friday. The Spain captain went under the knife during an hour-long operation in Madrid after suffering the injury during Wednesday's Copa del Rey quarterfinal clash with Valencia.

Madrid medical chief Carlos Diez said in a statement on his club's website: "Everything has been phenomenal. Two screws were put in and the hand has been perfect. It has been a complete success from a surgical point of view."

Lopez, who is signed until the summer of 2017, came up through the youth ranks at Madrid and was back-up to first-choice keeper Casillas for a number of seasons while making his Primera Division debut in 2006 against Osasuna.

In 2007, he joined Villarreal and the Galician-born custodian established himself as one of the best keepers in La Liga during his five years at El Madrigal, during which time he was called up to the Spain squad and made his international debut against Macedonia in 2009.

Following Villarreal's relegation to the second division last season, Lopez joined Sevilla for a fee in the region of 3.5 million euros ($4.7 million).

Lopez has been in and out of the Sevilla starting lineup this season as he competed with 39-year-old club captain Andres Palop for playing time.

Sevilla confirmed Lopez's departure to Madrid in a statement on their website, adding: "Sevilla will now be left with Palop and Julian, the youth team goalkeeper of whom there are high hopes."

Casillas will miss both legs of the Copa del Rey semifinal against Barcelona, the Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester United and a host of La Liga matches.

Antonio Adan, who has been controversially picked by coach Jose Mourinho ahead of Casillas in a handful of recent matches, is now set to compete with Lopez for a starting berth at the Bernabeu.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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