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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Spanish players back FIFA 6+5

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas is in favour of FIFA's controversial 'six-plus-five' proposal, believing it would be 'exceptional' for homegrown players. Casillas' club side Real Madrid could be one of those most affected if FIFA succeed in bringing in the new rule, which would mean teams can only name five foreign players in their starting XI. Of Madrid's 25-man squad last season, 16 were foreign while of the 11 players who made the most league starts, only four were eligible for Spain - Casillas, Raul, Sergio Ramos and Guti. However, Casillas has backed FIFA's new plan, saying: 'The law seems good to me, more than good, exceptional for the local players. It is not xenophobia or racism, but to look out for your own interests.' Andres Iniesta, who like Casillas is currently preparing with the Spain squad for next month's European Championship, is also in support of the scheme. Midfielder Iniesta plies his trade at Barcelona, who had a similar amount of non-Spanish players as Madrid on their books last season. 'It is important. The more local players there are, the more options the national team coach will have to choose,' said Iniesta. Valencia defender Raul Albiol was another Spain international to give his thumbs up to the idea. Had the rule been introduced at the start of the recently-completed La Liga season, Valencia would probably have been one of the biggest beneficiaries with more than a dozen Spain internationals on their books, and Albiol said in Marca: 'This law is key for the home country and for Spanish football.'

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