'Unfit' Casillas snubbed by Mourinho again
Jose Mourinho has postponed his goalkeeping selection dilemma by leaving Iker Casillas out of his Real Madrid squad for tonight’s trip to struggling Real Zaragoza.
The Spain and Madrid captain – who is held in such reverence in his home country that his nickname is ‘Saint Iker’ – has resumed full training after missing more than two months of action with a hand injury.
However, Casillas’ deputy Diego Lopez has been performing extremely well since joining Madrid from Sevilla in January and Mourinho will be reluctant to drop him, especially considering his strained relationship with Casillas which led to the captain being axed shortly before Christmas.
Assistant manager Aitor Karanka said: “He (Casillas) was cleared by the doctors some time ago, but he still is not ready to play as he is not one hundred per cent match fit.
“He has not been selected but he is training well and that is good for everyone. When he is one hundred per cent, he will be ready to play.”
With Casillas’ return to fitness, Madrid have a full squad of 25 players at their disposal for the first time since October. And after seeing Madrid head into the international break on the back of six consecutive league victories, Karanka is keen to warm up for Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with Galatasaray by securing another three points.
He added: “We want to carry on the run of wins we were having before this break. The team is doing very well and the decisive part of the season is starting. We have to finish like this.”
Zaragoza winger Victor Rodriguez claims his team have used the last two weeks to recharge their batteries after a dismal run of 11 games without a win has left them within two points of the relegation zone.
“The break came at the right time for us,” he said. “We have worked hard and cleared our heads. Now we are ready for two brutal months.”