‘Madrid-Atleti gap greater now’

Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Paco Buyo has cast an eye on Iker Casillas’ situation and also on this week’s Copa del Rey Final with Atletico Madrid.

Madrid host Friday’s Cup final against their city rivals with an unbeaten run of 25 games stretching back to 1999 to defend.

Buyo, who played in the last Copa del Rey Final between these two teams, which finished 2-0 to Atleti, reflected on his former side’s improved chances of success this time around.

“Everything was much more even 21 years ago when Real Madrid and Atletico played in the final,” the 55-year-old told reporters this week.

“There weren't such big differences between the two teams as there are now. Atletico was a real contender for the big competitions, and Spanish football and La Liga were a little more evenly-matched than they are now.

“If we look at this season, Madrid is probably the favourite based on squad potential, but finals are there to be played and won, because Atletico is really fired up.”

Buyo, who kept goal for Madrid from 1986 to 1997, was then asked of Iker Casillas’ struggles at displacing Diego Lopez between the sticks, amid a reported bad relationship with Jose Mourinho.

“As for Iker's situation, we could hardly expect it not to cause a massive stir. He is the best ‘keeper or one of the best, but the circumstances are what they are and he suffered a bad injury.

“When he came back he was on form, but he came up against Diego Lopez, who's on fire, and there's nothing strange about someone who's playing well keeping his place.

“He'll have to wait for his chance, but that's the law of football and I'm sure he'll play again.

“In-fighting at Madrid? The dressing room is more united than ever. It's a good group and it will want to fight to win a title in the most important match of the year.”

Tags Buyo Casillas mourinho