Saint Iker Casillas is back

Jose Mourinho opted for Iker Casillas. Once Antonio Adan had served his penalty in the Spanish League, Iker was chosen for the great match against Valencia. And Casillas replied as he does best: saving every shot that came and left a clean sheet for the third straight game.

Iker Casillas playing with the Real Madrid jersey against Valencia in a Spanish Cup 2012-2013 match
Iker Casillas had a great performance against Valencia

The first leg of the quarterfinals of the Spanish Cup (Copa del Rey), which ended in victory for Real Madrid against Valencia (2-0) marked the third consecutive Iker Casillas' game without taking a ball of the net. In the midst of debate over his place at the starting lineup of the Real Madrid, the captain turned to be decisive against Valencia. Two great saves prevented Valencia from taking advantage. Casillas is at a good level. After the win against Celta Vigo in the last-16 knockout round of the Cup and the goalless draw against Osasuna in Pamplona, Iker completed his third game unbeaten.

Yesterday, he played a perfect game and Real Madrid will travel to Valencia without a compromised result. We saw Saint Iker back, especially in the first part, in which he saved three balls to score. In particular, in the 36th minute in the action in which he deflected a shot from Jonas. The Brazilian finished off to the goal and Casillas, who had not moved waiting for the shot, got clear a shot from close range. Then came the Essien's counterattack that ended with the Benzema's goal.

In the second half Casillas was again key, clearing a diagonal shot of Soldado. The striker of Valencia had a good position in the area and shot to the goal but Iker pulled out a saving hand. But beyond the saves, the best performance of Casillas was the feelings he left again on the pitch. The Real Madrid captain read the game well at all times. In defense, he was especially attentive with Marcelo whor returned after three months injured and suffered with the speed of Piatti. Casillas did not stop encouraging him.

After the match, the goalkeeper spoke about the Real Madrid fans’ expectations in the various competitions: "We have a tough draw in the cup, we have to beat Valencia and then we have a possible tie against Barcelona or Malaga, who are playing very well. The league is very difficult but for ourselves, for the fans who are behind the badge and for this shirt we must fight to the end. Now we have the Champions League and the cup, which are vital. We have to keep going as we are and knowing how to differentiate each competition". About Marcelo’s return he said: "I'm happy that he has returned to the team".

Casillas also analysed his performance and the criticism that the team has been receiving because of their league position: "My contest is with myself. I have to work hard and do much more. I'm happy with the result and my performance. I would have been just as happy if Adan had started. Right now we have to put up with any criticism that we get. In the league, being Real Madrid we understand that we will be criticised. We will continue fighting to win every match in all three competitions".

The Real Madrid captain was also asked about the refereeing for Valverde's team: "I saw a good refereeing performance. There were yellows for both teams, fouls ... it was a physical game with lots of contact. They look out for themselves. We also had a bit of controversy a few days ago. We hope that it balances out for all teams and that nobody feels hard done by".

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