Casillas refutes Madrid captaincy rumours

Beijing: Iker Casillas has rejected rumours he will be stripped of the Real Madrid captaincy, saying he`d discussed the issue with manager Jose Mourinho but they agreed he would retain the captain`s armband.

"I had talks with the boss on this question and we discussed if I need to give out the captain position to someone else," Casillas told a hastily arranged news conference in Beijing on Wednesday. "But our boss said this is totally unnecessary."

Casillas has been Real Madrid`s first-choice goalkeeper for more than a decade and said the club has a tradition of giving the captaincy to long-serving players.

"There are chances that in the future if something bad happens or due to other reasons, I might leave the captain position," he said in comments translated from Spanish. "But so far I would say there is no sign or chance of that situation."

Casillas was enthusiastic about this week`s signing of Portuguese left back Fabio Coentrao from Benfica. He joins Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe in a contingent of Portugal internationals at Madrid that has grown under their compatriot Mourinho.

"Our Portuguese-speaking players are all very nice and friendly," Casillas said. "We have never had any problems in the changing room between the players with various mother tongues. By the way, our Portuguese players are all now learning to speak Spanish."

Casillas gave further support to Ronaldo, saying he was a better player than Barcelona`s Lionel Messi, who is often referred to as the world`s best.

"They currently both are the best football players in the world," Casillas said. "And they both are very ambitious and trying all their effort to play football for themselves and for their respected teams. But anyway, among the two best players, I would choose Cristiano Ronaldo."

Bureau Report

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