Iker Casillas' former Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster has suggested that the Spanish goalkeeper might prefer a transfer to sitting on the bench during a World Cup year.
Casillas -- who infamously fell out with ex-Blancos boss Jose Mourinho during the 2012-13 season -- surprisingly found himself a substitute again for Madrid’s opening game of the current campaign, when new manager Carlo Ancelotti chose Diego Lopez for Sunday’s 2-1 home win over Real Betis.
That decision sparked another media storm in Spain, with pundits analysing his body-language both before and during the Betis game, and discussing what a blow it must have been for ‘San Iker’, who has made over 600 appearances for Madrid. A few even looked at teams which might be in the market for an experienced top class keeper -- such as Arsenal -- and suggested a move could even take place before the current transfer window ends.
El Confidencial reports that well-placed sources suggested the club captain was unhappy to learn he would be a substitute just two hours before Sunday’s match at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but plans to fight for his place.
Ancelotti’s selection dominated Sunday's post-game press conference, where the Italian repeatedly told reporters that he had yet to decide on a first-choice between the posts. Casillas is expected to start Thursday’s ‘XXXV Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu’ exhibition game against Raul Gonzalez’s current team Al-Sadd, with all eyes then on who Ancelotti picks for Madrid’s next league fixture -- at Granada next Monday.
Schuster, who was Madrid boss during the 2007-08 season when the team won the title and Casillas claimed the league’s ‘Zamora’ title for best goalkeeper, said it was difficult to imagine his former player appearing anywhere else, but then recalled that nobody thought Raul would leave either.
"I would understand if Iker wanted to leave, but on the other hand he is such an emblematic player," the German said on Tiki-Taka. "I could not see Raul playing for another team, and Iker too, it is difficult to think he could play somewhere else. But there is a World Cup this year, and you cannot permit yourself the luxury of spending a year on the bench. He must play."
Current Malaga coach Schuster said that a player who lost his starting spot due to injury deserved a chance to return to the team once they had recovered, and a solution to the current issue needed to be found for the good of both the player and the club.
"It is important that Iker left the team due to an injury and the coach put in a substitute," he said. "With an injury, the player always has the right to return. Diego Lopez has played very well, and Madrid needed him. But a player like [Casillas] cannot be like this. I do not understand it. If everything is normal, although there is competition for places, Iker should be there, because of how good he is. This is not just any player -- it is Iker. We are already discussing it, it is not good for the team or for Iker. A clearer solution must be found."
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque told El Partido de las 12 that he would not be getting involved in Casillas’ club situation, but he was definitely sticking with Casillas for La Roja’s upcoming World Cup qualifier in Finland.
"It is an issue of the club and player. Madrid’s next game is on August 26 in Granada, and we give the list for Finland on the 30th. I do not think there will be changes in the keepers."