Ancelotti urges Casillas not to leave

Madrid, Jan 11: Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti made an appeal for goalkeeper Iker Casillas not to leave the club as his side prepares to face Espanyol Sunday evening.

Casillas has been reduced to a substitute role in the BBVA Primera Liga, but is still first choice in the Copa del Rey and Champions League knockout competitions, reports Xinhua.

For the moment that means he is still getting the regular football he needs in order to assure a place in the Spain team in this summer’s World Cup finals, but defeat for Real Madrid in these competitions, could see him spend the rest of the season in the dugout, placing his position as Spain captain in jeopardy.

Casillas commented before Christmas that he would be forced to reconsider his situation at the club where he has spent his entire career and debuted as an 18-year-old, if his position didn’t change.

But although Ancelotti has continued to show faith in Diego Lopez, speaking on Spanish radio, he made it clear Casillas is still vital to the club.

“We will go to war in order to keep Casillas at the club,” said Ancelotti, who likened the goalkeeper, to Xabi Alonso, who has just renewed his contract at Real Madrid.

“Iker has experience and quality to play at any club in the world,” commented the Italian, who will nevertheless leave him on the bench in the Cornella El Prat Stadium.

Real Madrid will kick off that game knowing the result of the clash between Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona, who play each other Saturday night and depending on that result, Madrid will have the chance to close the gap on one or both of the sides who are currently five points ahead of them.

IANS