Injured Casillas confident of early return

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 22, 2013 11:10 hrs

Madrid, Feb 22 (IANS) Real Madrid's Spain international goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, says he expects to be back on the field in a month.

Casillas was expected to be sidelined for around three months after he broke a bone in his left hand in Real Madrid's Copa del Rey quarterfinal away to Valencia in January.

His injury led his club to resign Diego Lopez from Sevilla as cover for what looked as if it was going to be an extended time on the sidelines as the goalkeeper underwent an operation and had his damaged hand put in a cast, Xinhua reports.

Now just a month after his injury Casillas is planning his return to action a month ahead of schedule.

"I am improving all of the time. I didn't have much strength in my hand, but that is returning and I am at the halfway point of the recovery," he announced at a presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

"I have very positive feelings about this: the doctor gave me the worst case scenario, which was three months, but the other day they took my cast off and were pleased with what they saw. Now I am carrying out active exercise and giving more mobility to my thumb in order to gain the strength I have lost there," confirmed the goalkeeper, who admitted he had found the first serious injury of his career difficult to deal with.

"You get used to living matches in a different way; I like to be with my companions every day on the trips and in the game: you suffer a lot more when you are on the sidelines and it is a lot different to when you are playing. When I had the operation I feared the worst, but the doctor has said I will be ready in a month," said Casillas.

Much had been made of Casillas' supposedly poor relationship with coach Jose Mourinho in the weeks before the goalkeeper's injury and the fact is that with Casillas unavailable, Mourinho was spared having to make a difficult selection decision, having dropped Casillas in games at the start of the year.

A leaked story about Casillas and Sergio Ramos preseenting club President, Florentino Perez with an ultimatum over Mourinho, which apparently had its roots in Casillas' journalist girlfriend, Sara Carbonero did little to improve the atmosphere and Casillas' injury took him off the scene at the perfect time for the coach.

Now it appears that Mourinho's future at Real Madrid is a question of serious debate and the debate is now whether or not Mourinho will be at the club next season, but who should be his successor.

The story published in the French press that Paris Saint Germain coach, Carlo Ancelotti has a verbal agreement to replace Mourinho has sparked debate over who would be the man preferred to take over at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Rafael Benitez, who is at Chelsea until the end of the season, has never hidden his love of Real Madrid, while a poll in Spanish sports paper, Diario AS say former Barca and Madrid player and current Swansea coach, Michael Laudrup named as fans' favourite.

Other candidates as Tottenham coach Andre Vilas Boas and Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp have also been suggested for what could prove to be a very interesting and possibly turbulent period in the club's history.

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