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Mar 29, 2013

Madrid's Casillas to miss Zaragoza clash

Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka has said goalkeeper Iker Casillas will not travel to the La Liga clash with Real Zaragoza on Saturday despite returning to full training almost two weeks ago.

Club captain Casillas appeared set for three months on the sidelines when he broke a finger during a Copa del Rey game at Valencia in January, and Diego Lopez arrived from Sevilla for €3.5 million to take his place between the Madrid posts.

But his recovery was quicker than expected and he returned to full training with Madrid's other senior goalkeepers, Diego Lopez and Antonio Adan, on March 19.

The Spanish media have since speculated about whether a reported feud with boss Jose Mourinho would affect the chances of his return to first team action.

Lopez looks set to continue in goal at La Romareda, with Adan on the bench, and reporters at Friday's pre-game press conference were told Casillas needed more time to recover fully.

"He has a medical all-clear for a week, but not an OK to return to competition," Karanka said. "He is training really well and will return when he is at 100%."

Mourinho has a full senior squad of 25 players to choose from for Saturday's game against freefalling Zaragoza, who are without a win in 2013.

He is likely to decide to use his resources carefully ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg at home to Galatasaray.

Winger Angel Di Maria, who was given an extra day off training after playing 90 minutes at altitude for Argentina in Bolivia on Tuesday, and left-back Fabio Coentrao, who picked up a slight knock in training on Friday, may sit out the game.

Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly returned from international duty with a slight thigh problem but is expected to feature, having been suspended for Portugal's most recent game in Azerbaijan.

Karanka said he was expecting a tough test at La Romareda and hoped Madrid could add to the seven consecutive wins they took into the international break.

"[Zaragoza] are in a difficult position and we are coming from an international week," he said. "We were on a good run before the break. Fortunately there have not been any serious injuries."

Asked about his future should Jose Mourinho, as expected, leave the Bernabeu at the end of the season, the former Athletic Bilbao and Madrid defender said: "When Mourinho decides to leave, I will also decide my own future.

"Until that moment, I will continue with him. I am happy with this technical team. The only thing that is on our mind is the next game."

Karanka also gave short shrift to reports that Mourinho had sent a special video to Paris Saint-Germain to help them prepare for their Champions league quarter-final against Barcelona.

"What has come out is ridiculous," he said. "Next question."

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