Iker Casillas will start for Real Madrid in El Clasico

Earlier this week, the performance of Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas performance against Schalke 04 came under tremendous scrutiny from fans and the media.

The 33-year-old has started 24 of 26 La Liga games this season, while keeping 11 clean sheets. Casillas has remained Real Madrid’s number one despite the club electing to sign the best goalkeeper in La Liga last year, Keylor Navas.

However, the fact that Casillas allowed four goals to the fifth-place team in the Bundesliga at home has left many people feeling his time in Madrid should come to an end.

In recent days, stories have surfaced in the Spanish press stating back-up goalkeeper Keylor Navas has taken a more prominent role during training this week, and could be in-line for a start against Levante later today. These reports have only increased the speculation surrounding Casillas’ future at the club.

This week, club president Florentino Perez addressed many things during his impromptu press conference – mainly his feeling that the media is trying to “destabilize” his team. However, Perez also took time to praise his embattled goalkeeper by detailing his importance to the club, while asking fans to support the veteran player.

Programming note: Watch el Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid on Sunday, March 22 at 4PM ET on beIN SPORTS. If you don’t get beIN SPORTS, watch it live (and legally) via DishWorld for just $10/month for La Liga, Serie A, Ligue Un coverage and more.

“Real Madrid’s goalkeeper is a symbol of this club. If he makes a mistake, then he needs the appreciation and support of all the members and fans,” the club president said.

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Fortunately, manager Carlo Ancelotti isn’t as reactionary as most fans and the media.

Speaking ahead of his side’s encounter with Levante, Ancelotti backed Casillas while proclaiming the Spain international will start in goal during next week’s crucial El Clasico showdown against Barcelona.

The manager would not reveal who would start in goal today when Real Madrid hosts Levante. However, he stressed that no matter what happens, Casillas will start next week at the Camp Nou.

“The team I put out wouldn’t be to point the finger at anyone,” Ancelotti said during his pre-match press conference. “If Keylor [Navas] plays then I will have taken the decision purely to give him some playing time because he’s training well.”

“If Keylor plays [against Levante] then no doubt Casillas will play against Barcelona. If Casillas plays, then on Sunday against Barcelona, he will play.”

 

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