Carlo Ancelotti not for budging on Iker Casillas issue
Madrid: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on Friday ruled out any possibility of budging from his decision to play Spain captain Iker Casillas in the Champions League only.
Casillas played well as Madrid drew 2-2 away to Juventus in midweek but will be back on the bench on Saturday against Real Sociedad, with Diego Lopez being preferred in La Liga and Ancelotti not for changing a decision taken at the start of the campaign.
"I took my decision at that moment. Now, the decision has been taken," said the Italian at his eve-of-game press conference.
"I took the decision I had to take at that time. For me, Diego Lopez was in the best condition at that moment."
Casillas, 32, lost his place in the second half of last season due to injury, with Ancelotti`s predecessor Jose Mourinho bringing Lopez back to the club for a second spell from Sevilla.
Lopez kept the gloves until the end of the campaign, and Casillas saw his chances of reclaiming the position hindered by his late return to training after featuring for Spain in June`s Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Casillas hinted last month that he might be tempted to seek a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu if he failed to win back his place on a regular basis, but on Wednesday he moved to dismiss such suggestions by saying that he wanted to stay put "in January, in June and until the end of my contract" in 2017.
Nevertheless, German daily Bild on Friday claimed that Schalke 04 - where Madrid legend Raul enjoyed a successful two-year spell between 2010 and 2012 - were keen to take him to the Bundesliga.
"Iker was clear after the match (on Wednesday), he wants to stay here. There is no problem. He wants to stay and we want him to stay," added Ancelotti.
The Italian also indicated that Cristiano Ronaldo had "a small problem with a toe", but should be able to play against the Basque side, as should former Real Sociedad midfielder Xabi Alonso.
He is expected to start as he recovers his form after a spell on the sidelines due to injury but Sami Khedira is a doubt with a leg knock.
Left-backs Marcelo (knee) and Fabio Coentrao (ankle) are missing from a 20-man squad, meaning either Nacho or Alvaro Arbeloa should occupy the position this weekend.