‘Fatherhood to blame for Casillas slump’

Iker Casillas’ former deputy Jerzy Dudek believes the Real Madrid goalkeeper’s dip in form can be attributed to the birth of his first child last year.

The Spaniard was dropped towards the end of Jose Mourinho’s reign at the Santiago Bernabeu in favour of returning custodian Diego Lopez, before slowly reclaiming his No 1 spot under Carlo Ancelotti.

“He’s the undisputed No 1 [in the world]. I don’t think there’s any goalkeeper in Europe who can compare to him,” the ex-Liverpool star told Polish web portal Interia.

“[Being dropped in favour of Diego Lopez] was difficult for Casillas, but he learned a lot from that experience.

“Then he became a father and this greatly affects the concentration of a player. His attention was on his son and you realise that’s more important than any record winning streak, for example.

“However, Casillas showed character and patience and returned to what he once was.

“No team can afford to dispense with a player like Casillas. A few days ago, he said he wanted to stay at Real Madrid until he was 40.

“It’ll be difficult because his best quality is his reflexes, and it’s difficult for any player to maintain a high level [of performance] over a number of years.

“Casillas has great confidence in himself. He’s a great professional and very intelligent.

“He’s worked with the best Coaches at the highest level and always knows what to do. His success has not been achieved by chance.”

Tags Iker Casillas Jerzy Dudek