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La Liga

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By ESPN Staff

Casillas calls for Caro permanent Real deal

MADRID, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas hopes the club will stand by Juan Ramon Lopez Caro as coach beyond the end of the season, instead of drafting in a new face.

'I would vote for him to continue as coach next year,' Casillas told sports daily AS on Wednesday.

'He is Spanish, has learned his trade coaching in the youth teams, has always worked very hard and is a good coach.'

Lopez Caro stepped up from coaching Real's B team in December, following the sacking of Brazilian Vanderlei Luxemburgo, and the club said he would be in charge until the end of the season.

Media speculation, however, has linked Juventus coach Fabio Capello with a return to Madrid.

The Italian led Real to the league title in 1997.

'It's not good that all these names keep coming up every day,' the former youth team player added.

'Lopez Caro perhaps doesn't have the name that others have, but this is something we are losing sight of here in Spain.

'It is the same with footballers. Someone who comes up through the youth teams has to prove himself 15,000 times more than someone who comes in from outside.'

Lopez Caro has started to turn round Real's season since taking charge, with improved performances helping create a fresh air of optimism.

They are unbeaten in six league and cup outings and are favourites to qualify for the semi-finals of the King's Cup later on Wednesday when they host holders Real Betis in the Bernabeu with a 1-0 first-leg lead.

Casillas said: 'We needed a coach who would believe in us, who would stand by us and who we felt comfortable with.

'We now have all that with Lopez Caro. Things are going well and we are winning games again with style.'

Real are fourth in the Primera Liga, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona, and play Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League next month.