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Sunday January 27 2013
Can Diego Lopez replace Casillas?

With Real Madrid signing Diego Lopez for the injured Iker Casillas, Olly Dawes looks at the impact the acquisition could have on their season.

Amidst the controversy over Marca’s report suggesting that the Real Madrid players have offered an ultimatum regarding the future of Jose Mourinho, the week ended on another bad note as goalkeeper and fan favourite Iker Casillas suffered a fractured bone in his hand, ruling him out of both legs of the Champions League clash with Manchester United.

Casillas has been in and out of the team of late anyway, as Mourinho has recently been giving Antonio Adan an extended run in the team – much to the anger of the Santiago Bernabeu faithful, who treat Casillas a club icon.

However, the decision on whether or not to play the Spanish international has been taken out of Mourinho's hands, as the injury will keep the No. 1 out for approximately 12 weeks.

As a result, Los Blancos have had to delve in to the transfer market to bring in cover for Casillas' injury – and have done so by bringing in an old face.

Sevilla's Diego Lopez has made the switch to Madrid, heading back to the club where he spent seven years before moving to Villarreal – the club in which he became one of the top goalkeepers in La Liga.

Upon the Yellow Submarine’s relegation last season, Lopez switched to Sevilla but having made just eight appearances at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Lopez is on the move again for a fee of €4m.

The 31-year-old stopper was clearly delighted at the prospect of pulling on the famous white shirt again.

“It is a dream to be returning home,” he told reporters on Friday. “Negotiations accelerated this evening  and I am very happy to be going back to the place I consider my home.

“For a Madridista like me, going back to Real Madrid is the greatest thing that could happen to me in my career. I cannot wait to begin this huge challenge.”

With a contract signed until 2017, Lopez should be a fixture in the Real Madrid squad for years to come, but it's unlikely that he will permanently displace Casillas – despite Mourinho's decision to start Adan in recent weeks.

The signing of a new goalkeeper was a priority for the Portuguese tactician after the captain’s injury, as youngster Adan has looked shaky in his appearances in the team so far, including a red card against Real Sociedad.

Fortunately, they have managed to bring in an experienced goalkeeper in the form of Lopez, who has years of La Liga knowledge behind him, Champions League pedigree and a solitary cap for the national team.

With a number of crucial games on the horizon for Madrid – including the Champions League double header with Manchester United and a date with fierce rivals Barcelona in the League, it was vital that they moved quickly to draft in experienced cover for Casillas, in a season defining period for the club.

And despite choosing to go with Adan against Getafe on Sunday, it's unlikely that Lopez will be sat on the bench for much longer.

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