Madrid: Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has accepted his relegation to the substitutes` bench for his side`s last two Spanish La Liga matches, saying it was done to keep him on his toes.
Although he was in the goal from the start for Madrid`s Copa del Rey win over Celta Vigo Wednesday night, Casillas has been relegated in favour of Antonio Adan for the league matches against Malaga and Real Sociedad, although he played most of the latter after Adan had been sent off in the sixth minute for a foul on Real Sociedad striker Carlos Vela.
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho had commented that it was not good for any player to rest on their laurels, although the move surprised both fans and commentators and saw Mourinho booed by a sector of fans both Sunday and Wednesday night, Xinhua reports.
Speaking at an event, Casillas said he had not been affected by suggestions he was too comfortable in his position.
"It didn`t upset me, it comes from the man with the most responsibility for the team," said the goalkeeper.
"What I have to do is to train harder, because the biggest competition comes from myself. I have to prepare better and recover the coach`s confidence," he added, with words of support for Adan, who appears to have been caught in the middle of any possible conflict.
"Mourinho didn`t speak to me when I played and he doesn`t have to do so if I am not playing, and anyway, Adan is an excellent keeper and a really nice guy and a friend," said Casillas, who nevertheless was grateful for the fans` support.
"I am grateful for the support they have always given me. I have been in the spotlight since I was 17 years old and I always wanted people to feel proud of me. I will remember the applause and the ovation when my name was read out," he said.
Meanwhile, there was bad news for Real Madrid when central defender Sergio Ramos was handed a five game ban after being sent off for two yellow cards against Celta. Ramos was suspended for one game as a result of his sending off, but received a further four game suspension for insulting referee Ayza Gamez, by calling him "shameless."
Ramos` suspension could not have come at a worse time given that Madrid will be without his usual defensive partner Pepe for around a month after the Portuguese international underwent an ankle operation last week.
Ramos will miss this weekend`s league trip to play Osasuna, the following week`s trip to play Valencia, the Copa del Rey quarter final ties, which see Madrid play Valencia again home and away and a league game at home to Getafe.