Carlo Ancelotti insists that he is yet to decide who will start between the sticks for Real Madrid in their La Liga match against Granada on Monday night.
The Italian surprised many Spanish football pundits when he selected Diego Lopez to start in goal for Real’s first match of the season last weekend.
It had been assumed that club captain Iker Casillas would be returned to the starting line-up, following the exit of his adversary, Jose Mourinho.
But it now seems as if Ancelotti may have seen the same thing in Casillas that The Special One did with regards to his form, and Casillas now faces a battle to regain his berth as Real’s number one.
However, speaking to the Real website on Sunday night, Ancelotti was adamant that both ‘keepers still had a chance to stake their claim.
“The club is very lucky to have two fantastic keepers and I have to make the decisions,” he said.
“It is normal for me to make this kind of decision and gauge the reaction. I am not going to say who the keeper will be tomorrow. There has been a lot of talk going around and I would prefer to talk to both players first. Then I will make a decision, but it will not be definitive.”
The politicisation of Casillas’ role at Real became more clear to Ancelotti at Raul’s testimonial last week, when both ‘keepers were booed and cheered in turn by their respective and opposing support bases in the crowd.
And so the manager has made it clear that to him, picking his starting ‘keeper is a football decision he will make purely based on what he sees in training, and one that he believes he will make in the best interests of Real Madrid.
“It was a little unpleasant for me because I know the Real Madrid fans well,” Ancelotti said, referring to the reaction the ‘keepers got at Raul’s party.
“It is important to know that I make decisions so that the team wins. And, above all, it is important to understand that it is not Iker or Diego who is playing, it is the Real Madrid goalkeeper.”