Euro 2016

Why del Bosque snubbed Casillas

Iker Casillas watching from the bench during Spain's 0-2 loss to Italy in the round of 16 at the Stade de France.
Iker Casillas watching from the bench during Spain's 0-2 loss to Italy in the round of 16 at the Stade de France. PHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Iker Casillas watching from the bench during Spain's 0-2 loss to Italy in the round of 16 at the Stade de France.
Vicente del Bosque. PHOTOS: ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS

Coach did not thank his captain after quitting as goalie showed his displeasure when axed

MADRID • Outgoing Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has revealed that Iker Casillas was the only member of his squad that he did not write a thank-you message to.

Del Bosque, who confirmed on Thursday that he would leave his post after the Euro 2016 elimination by Italy, dropped Casillas from Spain's starting line-up for their first group match against the Czech Republic in favour of Manchester United's David de Gea.

The coach told Spanish Radio station Cadena Ser yesterday that the captain did not take kindly to being benched.

"With his team-mates, he was okay, but with the coaching staff, his behaviour wasn't good. His anger was directed at us," del Bosque said.

"That's why he's the only player I didn't write to."

HE TOOK IT OUT ON US

With his team-mates, he was okay, but with the coaching staff, his behaviour wasn't good. His anger was directed at us. That's why he's the only player I didn't write to.

VICENTE DEL BOSQUE, outgoing Spain coach, on Iker Casillas' attitude after losing his No. 1 slot to David de Gea.

Casillas had been Spain's first- choice goalkeeper since the 2002 World Cup, and is the most capped player in the history of the national team, having made 154 appearances for the side including friendlies.

Del Bosque revealed that benching Casillas for the opener of Euro 2016, which Spain won 1-0, was a "painful" decision to make.

"For sure he is hurting or displeased with me and I understand that. He thinks we have done the wrong thing," the coach said.

"But we have to be proud of a player who has had 154 games with the national team. I don't believe three or four games will hurt his resume.

"Casillas hasn't disappointed me. I have a great appreciation for him. I have known him since he was nine years old."

Casillas, who did not play at all in France, suffered a similar fate at former club Real Madrid.

A hand injury coupled with a fallout with then coach Jose Mourinho during the 2012-13 season led to the goalkeeper being benched in favour of Diego Lopez. Casillas moved to Porto a year ago.

On Thursday, del Bosque brought the curtain down on one of the most successful managerial careers in football.

The 65-year-old led his country to the 2010 World Cup and European Championship success in 2012 after taking over from Luis Aragones in 2008, in a glorious era for Spanish football.

He also won the Champions League twice with Real Madrid.

His legacy was tainted by Spain's disastrous first-round exit at the 2014 World Cup and now their defeat in the last 16 in France.

"Maybe we did not perform well against Italy. The first stage went well. But the most difficult part would be winning again," del Bosque said.

"On July 31, I will leave football. I will be available to help. I will leave the bench although I will always remain close and will want things to go well for Spanish football. If I can help in anything, I will."

Del Bosque said no one at the Spanish football federation had asked his advice regarding who should replace him.

In the running is Joaquin Caparros, who has managed a host of Spanish clubs including Villarreal, Sevilla, Bilbao and Levante; former Spain Under-21 coach Julen Lopetegui; Granada coach Paco Jemez and former Marseille manager Jose Miguel Gonzalez.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2016, with the headline 'Why del Bosque snubbed Casillas'. Print Edition | Subscribe