It seems like 2013 just isn’t the year for Iker Casillas, as the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the Spanish national team made it only 15 minutes into his first start of the season before picking up a rib injury, forced to leave the pitch and pave way for Diego Lopez in more than one way.
The biggest winner from this? Carlo Ancelotti. He had no intention of making Casillas his number one goalkeeper, especially not with Diego Lopez playing so well every time he’s out there. It doesn’t matter if last year Jose Mourinho had less than savory reasons for turning on Casillas and benching him – Lopez simply played better than him as he took over the starting role.
No more questions, at least until Casillas comes back from his injury, about not playing him and about the rotation between him and Diego Lopez. Sergio Ramos was one of those, who like Casillas, felt the wrath of their Portuguese manager last season and didn’t exactly feel like he should be dancing to Mourinho’s tune. It was Ramos who bumped into Casillas and injured him against Galatasaray.
Maybe it’s just a minor set back for Casillas, and a short absence won’t hurt his future chances to take over the goalkeeper position for Real Madrid. However, taking a less romantic and more pragmatic look at the situation, it might have been the final nail in the coffin of Casillas’ career with Real Madrid.
There’s only so much bench time a proven champion in every possible competition can take, especially when it wasn’t bad form that took him out of the lineup. An injury might delay Casillas’ frustrations with not being featured in the lineup, but the outcome is going to be the same: Iker Casillas will sit behind Diego Lopez, and eventually leave Real Madrid to play for someone else instead of retiring with the only club he’s ever played for.