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 Posted by Dermot Corrigan
May 2, 2014

Valdano: Casillas must start for Madrid

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe gives his initial thoughts on the Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.

Former Real Madrid coach Jorge Valdano says Iker Casillas should now displace Diego Lopez for some of his side's remaining La Liga matches to be better prepared for the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.

Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas has played every Champions League tie for Real this season, but no Liga games.

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Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has rotated his goalkeepers all season, with Lopez starting every Primera Division match and Casillas playing in the Copa del Rey and Champions League.

Continuing this policy would mean the final in Lisbon will be just Casillas' 22nd club game of the season, leading for calls in the Madrid media for Spain's national captain to be brought in for the last four Liga games of the season to ensure he is as sharp as possible for May 24's huge 'derbi' final in Lisbon.

Valdano, who worked closely with Casillas when he was director of football at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu from 2009 to 2011, told El Larguero that for a goalkeeper to be out of action for almost a month before such a huge game was far from ideal.

"It is a problem," Valdano said. "I would give him minutes, I do not know if all of them. There is a promise to fulfil in respect to the two goalkeepers. But it is practically a month from here to the final. And competitive rhythm is very important. It is a long time."

The issue has been brought up regularly by the Madrid media throughout the season, most recently after Casillas made a crucial save late in the first leg of Real's Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich on April 23, denying the German side what could have been an important away goal.

Ancelotti then tried again to kill the issue saying in his postgame news conference that "Diego plays on Saturday, Iker on Tuesday."

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