Del Bosque not concerned by Casillas’ benching

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


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.”