‘Lopez hasn’t made mistakes’

Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Paco Buyo has defended Diego Lopez from criticism he insists is unfair and unfounded.

Lopez’s place in Madrid’s starting XI has been questioned after Madrid were beaten by Barcelona and Sevilla, with Iker Casillas waiting in the wings.

But AS reports Buyo as saying Lopez was not the reason for the consecutive reverses that saw Madrid slip to third in the table.

“Since the start of the League, Diego Lopez has been under great pressure,” Buyo said.

“Not just to wear the shirt of Real Madrid but the media obviously, and sometimes rightly, reviews him.

“But I’d say he’s made no major mistakes. He hasn’t committed any great faults or errors that have been decisive in a defeat.

“Some of the criticism has been unfair, although no one can question the merits of Iker and everything he has done.

“The Coach wants what is best for Madrid and I am for Madrid, not for Diego or Iker.

“We should respect the Coach, who is paid to make these decisions.

“Santiago Bernabeu has a very intelligent audience and they support not only Iker or Diego but all the players they need at this stage.”

Buyo was also asked about the situation concerning Victor Valdes, who will miss the rest of the season and the World Cup with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

“Barca will feel the loss of Valdes,” Buyo predicted.

“He’s one of the best in the world and we would certainly have been discussing Casillas’ place at the World Cup.

“Valdes has done so much for Barca. He’s been instrumental in title wins and although they have a decent replacement in Jose Pinto, they’ll notice Valdes is missing.”

The League title race was brought up and Buyo feels there are more twists and turns due this season.

“Madrid have gone from favourites to the third wheel,” the former Spain international continued.

“This is what is so complicated about the competition. Madrid have suffered two major setbacks [against Barcelona and Sevilla] but if they win every point they can be champions.

“That’s all there is left. If they drop another point they won’t be champions.

“It’s normal that there are spikes in form in such a long and hard season.

“But the team that loses the Clasico is penalised and against Sevilla Madrid had many chances but didn’t take them, which is rare. Madrid are usually effective.”

Buyo feels though that Madrid can be more confident regarding their Champions League prospects, with Borussia Dortmund at the Bernabeu for tonight’s quarter-final.

“There is a big difference in Dortmund this year. They’ve had a significant drop,” Buyo said.

“Real Madrid are the favourites but they shouldn’t get complacent because it’s still the Champions League.

“Dortmund will try to get a result that keeps the game alive for the return leg.

“These matches against German teams are always difficult. They are physically fantastic and it will be hard.”

Tags Diego Lopez Paco Buyo Victor Valdes