Del Bosque unfazed by Madrid benching Casillas

Real Madrid's decision to keep Iker Casillas (pictured) on the bench will not affect the goalkeeper's status on the national team, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said Wednesday. (AP/Scott A. Miller/AP Images for Guinness International Champions Cup)
August 21, 2013, 9:29 AM

BARCELONA, Spain — Real Madrid’s decision to keep Iker Casillas on the bench will not affect the goalkeeper’s status on the national team, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said Wednesday.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti chose Diego Lopez ahead of Casillas for the team’s opening Spanish league match on Sunday. Before Ancelotti, former Madrid coach Jose Mourinho had made similar decisions regarding Casillas.

"I don’t think there will be big changes," Del Bosque told Cope radio. "We are happy with all three goalkeepers. It’s not a big deal if they are one, two, three or even 10 games without playing."

Del Bosque, who played for and coached Madrid, said he would not give his opinion on a matter related to his former club.

"I shouldn’t talk about the situation of the club. It’s a very personal, very particular situation," Del Bosque said. "We have to evaluate it in each moment. Iker is a singular and special name in the world of Spanish football."

Del Bosque said that he would wait to see which goalkeeper Ancelotti chose for Madrid’s next game at Granada on Monday.

Four days later, Del Bosque will announce his squad for Spain’s World Cup qualifier against Finland on Sept. 6. Spain leads its qualifying group with 11 points, one more than France.

As team captain, Casillas has helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup and the last two European Championships. Del Bosque picked Casillas as Spain’s starter at the Confederations Cup after Mourinho had reduced him to a back-up for Madrid.

Spanish media and many of Madrid’s fans had taken it for granted that the exit of Mourinho and the arrival of Ancelotti would mean the return of Casillas. But Ancelotti opted to keep Lopez between the posts for Sunday’s 2-1 win over Real Betis, leaving Casillas in the dugout where he spent the second half of last season both before and after breaking a bone in his left hand.

After the game, the Italian coach said he had only chosen Lopez to start the season opener. But he didn’t clarify if the two goalkeepers would share starts or if he was waiting to see which he would choose as his first-choice player.

"I took the decision for today," Ancelotti said. "It’s a decision based on small details. I took it for this game. We will see what happens for the next. I spoke with Iker. He’s a professional. He wants to play and that’s good as well."

Barcelona’s Victor Valdes, who along with Casillas and Pepe Reina are Spain’s goalkeepers, said he was "surprised" to still see Casillas tagged as Madrid’s No. 2 goalkeeper.

"It surprised me. He played well at the Confederations Cup," Valdes said. "I have seen Iker make saves that I thought couldn’t be made. For me he’s the best."

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