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Tomás Roncero | 02/01/2013
The stir caused by Casillas' exclusion against Málaga on 22 December is beginning to settle down. According to AS sources, those close to Mourinho have hinted that the Portuguese coach has decided to restore order by starting Iker against Real Sociedad in the Bernabéu.
According to the same source, Mou believes that the whole affair will do Casillas some good in order to make him focus more in training and further improve with a view to 2013: winning 'number ten' in the Champions League and putting a stop to the freefall in the league. The club also backed the Portuguese trainer's decision: "Mou has never been in any doubts about Iker's quality, nor has he ever said that Adán is better. Nevertheless, in a strong squad like Madrid's you have make sure that nobody believes their place is a given, that's how you breed competition for places and keep everybody on their toes. Mou is always thinking about the good of the team." In Dubai, Mourinho made things very clear in a conference held with Maradona: "Iker a monument? The monument is Madrid and Madrid's coach always has to do what's best for the team. I don't see the need to make a fuss; I prefer players that think about tomorrow, regardless of what they have done in the past..."
After losing 3-2 to Pelligrini's Málaga, the Portuguese said in La Rosaleda that the substitution of Spain and Real Madrid's number one was down, at least until that moment, to a "technical decision". But Mourinho also told those close to him that over the holiday season it was good for players not to feel "untouchable", and that other big names in the dressing room, such as Cristiano and Segio Ramos, have also found themselves in the same position without causing tension among the squad or damaging the sporting side of things.
Iker appeared yesterday at a press conference in Valdebabas and continued to maintain his stance of reconciliation and humility when talking about his replacement: "I feel good, but I can understand the substitution and I accept it."
What's more, during the Christmas break there were also arguments in favour of Casillas given how he is perceived in other corners of the media. Two prestigious papers, the Guardian and L'Equipe, still believe he is the finest goalkeeper in the world; the English paper rated him as the 12th best footballer currently playing, and the number one goalkeeper, strides ahead of Buffon (20th) and Neuer (29th). Meanwhile, the renowned French paper put him in their team of 2012. Despite being left out, the opinion of Casillas around the world remains the same (with the exception of Maradona).