Valdes was shocked that the Spain captain did not start against Betis.
Barcelona No.1 Victor Valdes has revealed the goalkeeper’s surprise that opposite number at Real Madrid, Iker Casillas, was left on the bench for Carlo Ancelotti’s first match as manager.
Despite being club captain and having been the first choice at the Santiago Bernabeu for around 14 years, the Italian decided to play Diego Lopez ahead of the 32-year-old against Real Betis.
Valdes was surprised by the decision, with the Spaniard’s own side Barca romping to a 7-0 victory over Levante in their opener.
Valdes: “Casillas again benched? I was surprised, for me he’s the best. He saved Madrid and Spain several times with great saves.” #fcblive
— barcastuff (@barcastuff) August 19, 2013
In Jose Mourinho’s final year in the Spanish capital before returning to Chelsea, the 50-year-old also used the tactic of dropping Casillas for Lopez – which made the ‘Special One’ unpopular with Los Blancos faithful.
The Spain international is a hero at the Bernabeu and it is a risky move by Ancelotti to potentially annoy the fans this early into the former Paris Saint-Germain’s boss’ tenure at the club.
Casillas is one of the most experienced Spanish footballers in history, having earned a record 149 caps for the nation and helping to guide Spain to successive European Championship triumphs and a World Cup win in the past five years.
The ‘keeper has also won five La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies with Madrid and is one of the most highly decorated stars ever to have played the game.