Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque has a tough call to make regarding the goalkeeper’s position for La Furia Roja’s World Cup qualifier against Finland.
Del Bosque has been vehement in his support for Spain skipper Iker Casillas, who remains part of his squad despite losing his place as No1 at Real Madrid.
But reports suggest that Barcelona ‘keeper Victor Valdes, who has started the season in excellent form for the Blaugrana, could be selected ahead of Casillas to play against the Finns.
One ‘keeper or another, it is clear that the politics at play in the Spanish goalkeeping have vexed Del Bosque.
He believes that Casillas paid the price for negotiating a truce between Barca and Real’s Spanish internationals ahead of Euro 2012.
Casillas is credited for being the peacemaker, who smoothed Spain’s path to their unprecedented defence of the European title, when it seemed as if it could be derailed by the increasingly heated relationship between Barca and Real’s players at the height of the Jose Mourinho era at the Bernabeu.
The Special One maintains that he dropped ‘Saint Iker’ because Diego Lopez had performed better in training.
And the fact that Casillas has not returned to the starting line-up under Mou’s replacement Carlo Ancelotti suggests there is some truth to the Saint’s loss of form.
But Del Bosque believes there was more to Casillas’ original axing than just form.
"It's true that in difficult moments for the national team, when the Real-Barca matches got a little strange, he [Casillas] helped the team to move on and continue winning things like the European Championship," Del Bosque told radio station Onda Cero.
"This did not go down well and perhaps had a detrimental effect also on Iker.
"He was a key figure in fostering harmony in the national team."