Mourinho and the Madrid Goalkeeper Dilema

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Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

It’s been 2 years since the Special One left the Bernabeu yet the damage he did here is still being felt. Halfway into his mandate the Bernabeu, and the entire Real Madrid fanbase , was completely divided. You were either pro-Mou or Anti-Mou. There was no middle ground.

Personally I did not love him or hate him. It was my belief that he had both good qualities and bad ones and I tried to give him my full support while he was our coach. But I was the rare exception.

Mou benched Iker in favor of Adan, who was not really a better goalie at the time, just to prove the point the Casillas was not in good form. Then Diego Lopez was brought in and iker road the bench for the rest of the season.

Sara Carbonera, who was Iker’s girlfriend and and professional journalist, came out on TV making claims about the players being in conflict with Mourinho. From that day forward the pro-Mourinho faction labeled Casillas “El topo” (The Spy) and whenever Casillas has a less than stellar match he gets hammered with whistles from half the stadium.

There were also divisions within the team between previously good friends Casillas and Arbeloa. Arbeloa and Xabi Alonso supported Mourinho. Xabi ended up leaving a year later to Bayern.

Just imagine for a minute any living legend on another team being whistled by the stadium. It’s unheard of. Mourinho is gone but the damage is done. Casillas has won everything for Real Madrid and Spain but unless he starts the season with nothing less than a stellar performance he’s doomed to whistles and further ridicule.

On the other hand we have Keylor Navas, who is an excellent goalkeeper. He was brought in to replace Diego Lopez, our previously most in-form goalkeeper, who was mysteriously shipped off to Milan. Unfortunately, Navas didn’t really perform better than Iker with the chances he got last year.

The whole soap opera with the eventual arrival of De Gea will probably drag on all summer. It’s almost certain that United’s star keeper will move to the Bernabeu, yet it’s very possible that he doesn’t arrive until next year. His contract will be up and with a little patience Real Madrid won’t have to pay a cent for him.

If it were up to me I would like to see Iker have one more year in Madrid and go out with a bang. Contrary to what some say, he was decent last year and I think he still has some of the old Saint Iker in him. He and Navas can hold down the fort until next year when we bring in De Gea to take Iker’s spot as the next goalkeeping legend.

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