Is it time for Iker Casillas to leave Real Madrid?
One of the most exciting things about football is how quickly things can change.
In a month which has already seen Sepp Blatter announce his plan to retire as head of FIFA in the coming months as well as playing host to the theatre of fresh revelations concerning bribe-taking and further corruption within the core of the game, never has there been a more apt time to witness just how malleable it can all be.
Whether or not it cracks under the strain of its own duplicity, however, remains to be seen.
Real Madrid, too, has itself shown just how turbulent their own world can be. Carlo Ancelotti has now been swapped for Rafael Benitez and with transfer speculation rife, left, right and centre, it’s clear all is not well within the confines of the world-famous Santiago Bernabeu.
In particular, the future of long-standing goalkeeper Iker Casillas is also up in the air, and it’s possible that their no.1 custodian could soon find himself out in the cold in double-quick time with certain high-profile signings reportedly targeted.
But should Casillas stay and fight for his place? Is he still good enough?
Benitez’s reputation for tinkering could taint Casillas’ honour
Now that ex-Napoli boss Benitez has come on board to take the reins at Madrid, there ought to be a raft of big changes made in the coming weeks and months.
In the past, the 55-year-old manager has earned himself a reputation for tinkering playfully with sensitive squads and starting XIs, particularly during his time in the Premier League with Liverpool on Merseyside.
Although that brought him a Champions League title in 2005, it also brought him a great deal of criticism from far and wide. Often, he brought dismay to the fans, particularly during their disheartening league campaigns, with the way he left big name players out in key games.
Too often back then, he took calculated risks that simply did not work – and he attempted to do the same in the Serie A, though perhaps his capacity to do so here was not as well documented. In truth, it seems that while Benitez can sometimes be one of the top minds in European football, he often struggles to get the most out of his squad and is saddled with his own inconsistency.
Indeed, his rotation policy is unlikely to sit well with Casillas should he choose to stay. For example, Mariano Andujar and Rafael Cabral – the two Partenopei shot-stoppers – shared 52 appearances relatively evenly with the former enjoying 23 and the latter 29.
In stark contrast to this, Los Blancos, quite simply kept their no.1 as their main ‘keeper – and it saw him keep Keylor Navas out of the starting XI for all but eight matches in all competitions, per WhoScored. In truth, it’s difficult to imagine just how “The Saint” would cope with sitting on the sidelines for anywhere near even 30 percent of Madrid’s matches.
It would be a jolt to the system he might not even want to experience.