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REAL MADRID

Real Madrid facing Casillas conundrum

The keeper has told Florentino Pérez that he will continue for the time being and is set to guard the net in next month’s UEFA Super Cup final.

Carmen Colino

With the arrival of Keylor Navas, Real Madrid must offload one of their top two goalkeepers: Iker Casillas or Diego López. There is no room for three top class keepers competing for one place. Neither Casillas or nor Diego López want to leave which means the club must make a decision of its own accord. Diego was supposed to enter into the deal to bring James Rodríguez to the Bernabéu but now it seems he will not be joining Monaco as makeweight in the operation. Rafa Benítez also wants him at Napoli. Diego currently earns a take-home salary of 2.1 million euros and it would cost Real Madrid five million euros if the player accepts an offer to move elsewhere. During the past few days, he has looked serious and pensive in the squad’s training sessions. He has been surprised by the news that Navas is about to be brought on board and as of the moment, his plan is to battle to maintain his place.

Casillas’ situation ‘seemed’ to have been resolved after the meeting he held with Florentino Pérez and José Angel Sánchez at the end of last season. Both were relieved at Iker’s decision, “We want you to stay, this is your home and you should continue,” they told him but they have been less forthright when discussing the matter in public.

Iker is due back in work on Wednesday and like Diego López, his idea is to continue at the Bernabéu. The incorporation of Keylor Navas wouldn’t change his stance. He will meet up again with Florentino and José Angel Sánchez when the remainder of the squad arrives in the United States and the issue is certain to be raised again.

Casillas is not willing to initiate his exit; however should the club decide that Iker needs to leave, it will be up to them to put him on the market, declare his time at Real Madrid definitively over and spell out that Diego López and Keylor Navas are the squad’s two main goalkeepers. In such a scenario, Iker would be able to decide where he wants to go. Real Madrid meanwhile, would have to outlay the due severance payments. Casillas has three years left to run on his existing contract with the option of a fourth – and a fifth... (he signed a life contract, under Ramón Calderón in February 2008.

Casillas is looking forward to the pre-season and knows that once more, he will be starting from zero. In Los Angeles he will be training alongside Diego López and Jesús; on Wednesday he will begin his sixteenth season with the first team squad. The key date for both keepers will be August 1 – the date when Keylor Navas would be expected to be incorporated into the Madrid squad. Less than a fortnight later, Madrid contest the European Super Cup in Cardiff on August 12- a date which both Diego and Iker will have circled in red marker in their agendas. Whoever is chosen to play against Sevilla will have won half of the battle...

Estadísticas AS.com