Mourinho rules Casillas out of Galatasary clash
MADRID (AFP) –
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho says that Iker Casillas will not even be on the bench for the Champions League quarter-final first-leg against Galatasary on Wednesday.
The Spanish captain has recently returned to full training after breaking a bone in his hand back in January.
However, after another fine performance by Diego Lopez in Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Real Zaragoza on Saturday, Mourinho said it will be difficult for Casillas to regain his place.
“On Wednesday Casillas won’t be a substitute. Against Levante he will be in the squad,” he told a press conference.
“I can never say that a player will start for the rest of the season, but I can say that once more Diego Lopez has played very well and helped the team obtain a result.”
“Playing as he has in games with a high grade of difficulty like Barcelona and Manchester United and playing as he is currently playing, he is important for the team.
“In football we have to try and be honest with ourselves and our players. In this form it will be difficult for him to not start in goal.”
Mourinho recognised the problems his side are having at the other end of the pitch after his strikers once again failed to find the net at La Romareda.
“The reality is we are not scoring many goals. It is one of the differences with respect to last season.
“Everyone’s number of goals has reduced and the team feels it. The goals will arrive though, if not in this match then in the next.”
Madrid’s draw meant that Barcelona’s lead at the top of La Liga remains at 13 points after they too could only manage a point away at Celta Vigo in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Lionel Messi was once again the protagonist as he scored Barca’s second goal to become the first player ever to score against every other side in the league in consecutive games.
Messi took his tally to 29 goals in the 19-match streak, but said that extending his personal run was less important than the team dropping two points.
“The run isn’t the most important thing. I had the luck to score in these games and help the team to keep winning,” he told reporters.
“We wanted to win after the effort with the national teams but we couldn’t do it.”
Messi was one of the few Barca players away on international duty in midweek to play the full 90 minutes.
The World Player of the Year had been sick at half-time of Argentina’s 1-1 draw with Bolivia in the high altitude of La Paz on Tuesday, but insisted he hadn’t received special treatment from Barca assistant boss Jordi Roura by starting the game.
“I didn’t say anything to him. I was ready to play and I felt fine. It is not easy to return to play after the internationals and even more so away from home against a team playing for so much.”