Iker Casillas has outlined his ambition to regain his starting place at Real Madrid under Coach Jose Mourinho.
Spain’s world and double European champion has found himself on the bench for Madrid’s last two League games in light of Mourinho’s technical favour for Antonio Adan.
Casillas began the midweek Cup match against Celta Vigo and is likely to deputise in the suspended Adan’s absence at the weekend and has made clear that he intends to keep hold of the No 1 position
“I have to train harder, grit my teeth and show Mourinho that he is wrong. A little setback like this isn’t bad, these things make you stronger,” he declared to reporters today.
“I love challenges. I want to show myself that in the hardest of times I am worthy of this profession, which I’ve been training for since I was four years old. I have to improve and be even better.
“I need to train harder so I can demonstrate that I am able to get back into the team and regain the confidence I’ve lost.
“I do not think, though, that I’ve had as bad a season as is being made out. I am not a machine and I have ups and downs. Now, a goalie has to be comfortable. yesterday I played and it can be the beginning of something.
“We’ve spoken too much about me, more so than I’d like.
“I am grateful for the support the fans have always shown me. Since I was 17 I’ve been under the spotlight and I’ve always wanted the fans to feel proud of me. I feel flattered when they applaud me and chant my name.”
“That doesn't annoy me, it’s come from the man in charge of the team. What I have to do is train more. I am only competing with myself, I need to prepare better and regain the Coach’s confidence.”
The ‘keeper was asked of the possibility of Mourinho leaving at the end of the season.
“I don’t know what he will decide, as far as I know, he has a contract until 2016. I also have a contract with my club and my plan is to complete it.
“My dream was always to start my career here and retire here. Madrid is a marvellous club. I am from Madrid and I’ve played for the best club possible.”
Madrid are languishing 16 points behind Barcelona in the League this season.
“Our performances have not corresponded with who we are. Last year we won the League with much style. Now we seek continuity.
“Maybe it is too late to try and win the League, but we are thinking about it. We know it is almost impossible, but we must fight for the fans who are suffering from the situation that we are in.”
Get free Spanish football tips on all leagues. Share your own to share in £5,000 monthly cash prizes.