Iker Casillas finds himself at the centre of most of the media talk in the Spanish capital this week, but for reasons he would rather not be concerned with. All of the talk in the press, radio and TV is about why Casillas is not in Mourinho’s plans and might he not even feature again this season?
The rumours have created many a heated debate and the Madrid faithful appear to be worryingly split down the middle. With the medical green light for him to start training having been given a couple of weeks ago and the doctors and technical staff allegedly having given him the go ahead to start playing again, why was Iker missing from the squad for the weekend trip to Zaragoza?
A reason given by José Antonio Luque, on popular late night debate show Punto Pelota, is that Casillas was involved in a 4 on 4 training match towards the end of last week. A shot was taken towards his goal with great power and instead of saving it, the keeper pulled away his left hand and allowed the ball to fly into his net.
This action prompted the physios and coaches at the training session to question whether Iker was mentally ready to face the rigours of a competitive match, if he was still uncertain of his hand in training.
Tomás Roncero of Diario AS has a different view and believes that even a fully physically and mentally fit Casillas would struggle to get back into Mourinho’s plans. Even before his unfortunate injury in the cup match at Valencia, when Alvaro Arbeloa swung a boot into his left hand causing him to miss almost 3 months of football, Casillas had fallen out of favour.
He was controversially dropped for the away league match at Málaga, Mourinho claiming that Adán was in better form and deserved to start. What many claimed was a wake up call for the Spanish National Captain didn’t work out too well for Madrid as Los Blancos went down 3-2 to the Costa del Sol side.
Roncero goes further and doesn’t just think that this gesture was to capture the attention of Madrid’s number one. He claims Mourinho and Casillas cannot stand the sight of each other and during the stoppers time on the sidelines, the coach has not spoken to him once.
Casillas personal life has not endeared him to the Portuguese coach. His wife, Sara Carbonero, is a sports journalist and presenter for Telecinco in Spain and has been known to report on incidents that are “alleged” to have occurred in the Madrid dressing room. His close friend and second captain Sergio Ramos has also had a falling out with Mourinho and it is claimed both will seek summer transfers if the controversial coach decides to stay.
Diego López has done well since being drafted in to cover for Mourinho, Adán seemingly is on his way out in the summer when once being considered by the coach as the better keeper. However, if Casillas is fully fit, can he expect to keep his place as number one?
It would appear, for now, that Mourinho will put his confidence in the man he signed from Sevilla in January and a significant section of the support will back him blindly whatever he decides, with some even organising marches of support to encourage their hero to stay on in Madrid.
The flip side of the coin are people that are loyal to their club captain and are fed up of the constant controversy that surrounds the current incumbent of the hottest of hot seats in world football. They are loyal to their club and President, but realise that the club comes 1st and needs stability.
Florentino Pérez is ultimately the man who must decide who shall win the battle of wills, but he will need to take a firm hand soon as club elections for the Presidency are due in the summer and such instability involving a club legend will not go down well with many socios (club members) who would normally throw their full weight behind a man that would normally stand unopposed.