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Ancelotti: We’ll go to war to make Casillas stay

by Tom Conn | Posted on Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Real Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti insists that he will go to war to keep back-up goalkeeper, Iker Casillas at the club, the same way he fought to keep Xabi Alonso from leaving because “Casillas has to finish his career at Real Madrid.”

XabiAncelotti

In an interview on Radio Nacional’s Radiogaceta de los Deportes programme, Ancelotti began by discussing the tactics he’s employed this season and how they have not taken as well as he’d had hoped and allowed Atletico Madrid and Barcelona to get a jump on Los Blancos in the league table.

“Our tactics aren’t at the level we want because we have changed the philosophy a little with respect to the system used last season, a system in which the team played more on the counter attack. We’ve tried to implement a more possession  style with the ball played along the ground. Barça have had the same philosophy for years. Atlético’s system is different but they’ve also played with the same system for [two] years. I know perfectly well that patience is limited at a club like Real Madrid. The team needs to be competitive.”

Ancelotti went on to speak about one of the best ‘signings’ he’s had in his career, the contract renewal of Xabi Alonso and why he fought so hard to convince the Spanish international to stay.

“[Xabi's] an important ‘signing’ for us. He’s a very important player for his quality, experience and his style of play. It’s impossible to find someone else with his qualities. I guess you could compare him a little with [Andrea] Pirlo but he’s 35. Xabi’s younger and the whole madridísmo loves him. He’s a great signing.

“He gives us balance. We started the season without Xabi or Illarramendi and finding balance without those two was difficult. Xabi makes everything go so much easier for us.

“At the moment [Xabi's midfield partner] is Modric. We started out fielding three in midfield, but later on we changed that. He could pair up with Modric, Illarramendi… The problem isn’t who is playing in that position; it has more to do with the philosophy of our game. I don’t like when teams depend on one player, be it Xabi Alonso or anyone else. When Xabi isn’t available, we need to have an alternative.”

The Italian went on to discuss his controversial decision to use two goalkeepers and insists that he would fight just as hard to keep Iker Casillas at the Santiago Bernabeu as he did Xabi Alonso.

“I don’t know whether it was a risky thing to do. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I have two goalkeepers who both have an enormous amount of quality. Real Madrid have the best pair of goalkeepers in the world. Diego López started in the league but you can’t have a goalkeeper like Iker Casillas sitting on the bench. Iker has the experience and quality to play on any team in the world. Maybe it wasn’t the best decision and rotating goalkeepers isn’t easy, yet bother players have taken the decision very well.

“Yes [I will fight for Casillas to stay], of course. I will do exactly the same [as I did for Xabi]. Madrid have some very important players who represent this club. We’ll fight to the death to ensure Casillas ends his career at Real Madrid.”

Ancelotti went on to state that while he’d like to remain at Real Madrid for many years to come, he doesn’t want to be at the club for 24 years like Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

“I’d like to, well, retire… I don’t know about that, but I’d like to be here for a long time but not like Ferguson for 24 years at Manchester United.”

Ancelotti finally concluded by discussing his in-form Real Madrid Castilla winger, Jese and if they are going easy on him to make sure he doesn’t get injured.

“No, it’s not a case of being careful. Jesé’s got talent, it’s in his genes. He needs work and understand that to play at this highest level, he has to be professional. That’s why we’re being very careful with him. I’m happy, but not just with Jesé but with all of the players who’ve came up from Castilla: Morata, Nacho and Casemiro. They’re all doing well and bring youthful enthusiasm to the team.”



Inside Spanish Football