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Keeping Real's slim title hopes alive

Real Madrid

Reina: Spain squad is united

Pepe Reina says that the continuing individual problems between Iker Casillas and Alvaro Arbeloa are not distracting the Spain squad from their collective goals at the Confederations Cup.

The differing views held by Casillas and Arbeloa about Jose Mourinho's behaviour and decisions as Real Madrid coach last season have led to a "cooling" of their personal relationship according to club and international colleague Raul Albiol, with neither player appearing quite willing to bury the hatchet and move on.

Reina, whose genial nature has seen him play an important team-bonding role in a Spain squad which has overcome internal issues before to win the last three major international championships, said that such problems arose from time to time but had never affected the team once they went onto the pitch.

- Spanish desire for success remains intact

"In all groups it is almost necessary that there are 'issues'," the Liverpool goalkeeper said. "Everything cannot be a bed of roses, peace and harmony. It is impossible to get on with absolutely everyone, but not impossible that you respect him.

"Companionship and respect is not negotiable. In the national team there have been tough moments when we have all got together and we have said - we are going to do this for ourselves and for our country, and from there you can see the results."

Neither he nor Barcelona's Victor Valdes had a problem with Spain coach Vicente del Bosque bringing Casillas back into the side despite him not having played a club game since January after falling out with Mourinho at the Bernabeu, Reina said.

"The boss had to make a decision," he said. "Iker had not been playing, but he had been training and was in the right physical shape. Del Bosque had to make a decision and we have respected that, just as we always have."

Casillas' run of seven consecutive clean sheets in competitive games for Spain was ended by Luis Suarez late free-kick in Sunday's Confederations Cup opener against Uruguay. The La Roja captain had been previously criticised by some in Spain for a weakness from long range strikes - apparently also by Mourinho - but Reina said he knew from experience that Suarez could hit an unstoppable deadball.

"I share a dressing-room with Luis Suarez and I suffer from those in training," he said. "He hits frees so that it seems like the ball is going over the bar and the ball flies over the wall and then dips very quickly."


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