Bernd Schuster wouldn’t be surprised if Iker Casillas asked to leave Real Madrid.
Such a proposition would have seemed unthinkable not too long ago, but the Spanish number one lost his place last season under Jose Mourinho, who preferred Diego Lopez instead. And he was again forced to watch from the sidelines as Carlo Ancelotti kept faith with the former Sevilla man for the opening day of the current campaign.
This has prompted Malaga coach Schuster, who spent two years at the Bernabeu as a player from 1988 to 1990, to suggest Casillas consider a fresh challenge unless his position improves. Indeed, the former West Germany international would even understand if the 32-year-old asked to leave this summer to protect his place in the national side.
“I’d understand it if Iker wants to leave,” Schuster told Tiki Taka. “This year there is a World Cup and he cannot afford to spend a year sitting on the bench. He has to play. We need to remember that Iker went out of the team because of an injury and the coach replaced him with a substitute. Because of an injury, the player has the right to return to the team.
“Being the Madrid goalkeeper is a very difficult job and Iker is who he is, and a player as good as him cannot afford to be in a situation like this one. I don’t understand it. Even though there is a lot of competition, which is a good thing, Iker needs to be playing. The reason it’s a problem is that, as we saw last year, this isn’t any old player. We have already started discussing this issue this season and it dominated the last few months of Mourinho’s tenure, it was unbelievable, it’s not good for the team nor for Iker. It has surprised me that this situation has been allowed to rumble on, the club needs to find a proper solution.”
Born in Mostoles, Casillas grew up as a Los Blancos fan and joined their youth setup aged just nine. He has gone on to establish himself as one of the most respected goalkeepers in the history of the game, and can count five league titles and two UEFA Champions Leagues amongst the numerous honours he has won since debuting for Real in 1999. He is Spain’s most capped player having featured for La Roja 149 times, and he captained them to glory in the World Cup Finals of 2010, as well as Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.