'Arbeloa-Casillas friendship has cooled'
Raul Albiol says the friendship between Real Madrid and Spain team-mates Iker Casillas and Alvaro Arbeloa may be "a little bit colder" as a result of their different views on former boss Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho's approach was not appreciated by all in the Madrid dressing room, leading to rows with stars including Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and - most notably - club captain Casillas. However, Arbeloa was among those who stuck with the Portuguese throughout, and has now refused to go along with the Spanish media narrative that Madrid's poor season was all Mourinho's fault.
Albiol, who has won trophies including the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012, 2011-12 La Liga and 2011 Copa del Rey alongside Arbeloa and Casillas, admitted that their difference of opinion over the departing coach may have affected their relationship.
"I do not really know," Albiol said. "The friendship has maybe got a little bit colder. I would like things to get back to normal. It is not that they are getting on really badly, as people have said. But as a team-mate of the two, and I appreciate them both, I would like everything to return to normal."
Arbeloa has maintained that Mourinho, now in charge of Chelsea, was let down by some in the Bernabeu dressing room, who were more worried about their own individual situations than the team's success last season.
The right-back told TV station La Sexta earlier in the week that some players - whom he did not name - had let Mourinho down with their attitudes this season.
"Mourinho did everything to defend this club, and few at Real Madrid can say that," Arbeloa said. "We are a club where, usually, the players are concerned with ourselves and then later with other things. There are people who do not like having a coach who would not let them relax. I prefer people like 'Mou', who are straight up. Mourinho left disillusioned with the players."
The commotion surrounding Mourinho's decision to keep Casillas on the bench had been unfair to replacement Diego Lopez, the former Liverpool man suggested.
"There does not need to be so much of a commotion if someone goes to the bench occasionally," Arbeloa said. "We all have a lot of respect [for Iker], but we must also show the same respect to Antonio Adan or Diego Lopez, independently of what they have achieved in the past. [Lopez] had a brilliant season, outstanding. At the moment I do not think he has to be jealous of any 'keeper in the world. He will have felt that there could have been a lack of respect."