Madrid (AFP) – Outgoing Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has sparked controversy by signalling out veteran captain Iker Casillas’s poor attitude as Spain’s reign as European champions came to an end at Euro 2016.
A 2-0 defeat to Italy on Monday ended Spain’s quest for a third consecutive European Championship crown with Casillas relegated to the substitutes bench behind Manchester United’s David de Gea after captaining La Roja’s previous two continental triumphs.
Del Bosque confirmed his intention to step down on Thursday having also overseen a disastrous defence of the World Cup in 2014.
However, having showed fierce loyalty to the players that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, his criticism of Casillas was received with shock across Spain.
“With the other players he was fine, acted correctly, but with the coaching staff he was so, so,” Del Bosque told Cadena Ser radio.
Del Bosque provoked a national debate over who should start in goal in France by refusing to name his first-choice goalkeeper during qualifying.
However, he had insisted his belief before the tournament that Casillas would be a “good substitute”.
“It leaves a bad taste that he wasn’t good at all with the coaching staff, but with the rest of the players he was perfect. The anger was aimed at us.”
Indeed, Del Bosque said he felt so let down by the 35-year-old’s behaviour that Casillas was the only player he hadn’t sent a message to since taking the decision to step down.
Casillas, by a distance Spain’s record caps holder with 167, hasn’t officially announced his international retirement.
However, he hinted at his retirement by posting a video clip of a Rambo film on Tuesday in which the lead character played by Sylvester Stallone says: “I don’t know where but I am going.”