When Los Blancos decided to part company with the mischievous Jose Mourinho last summer, Carlo Ancelotti's appointment was met with an expectation that Iker Casillas would be reinstated as Real Madrid’s No. 1 goalkeeper.
Cue disappointment in many quarters, as Real's favourite son has not experienced a single minute of La Liga action this season. Instead Diego Lopez has been preferred in the league, while Casillas has been installed as Real’s cup goalkeeper—for Copa del Rey and Champions League matches.
It's a perplexing scenario.
Vicente del Bosque has continued to pick Casillas in the middle of the sticks for the national team. When interviewed last month by Football Espana, the La Roja boss said, “he is playing in the Champions League and I don’t see any problems. Physically he’s fine.”
Yet Ancelotti arguably sees Lopez as his No. 1 ("arguably" because it depends on whether he rates La Liga as a priority competition ahead of the Champions League).
With this in mind, Casillas’ 14-year stay at Real is likely to come to an end this summer, with this season's Champions League and the summer's World Cup enabling him to showcase his undoubted talents.
Similarly, Raul ended his 16-year Bernabeu stay in 2010 after falling down the Los Blancos pecking order, as reported by ESPN reporter Dermot Corrigan, and his encouraging comments could inspire Casillas to find a new club:
Going to a new country made me recover that excitement that I did not have here [Bernabeu]. I enjoyed my football and felt more liberated. I was only thinking about playing. That was more difficult at Madrid.
At 32, Casillas is at his goalkeeping peak and should command a long list of potential suitors. Here are the five possible destinations.