5 Possible Goalkeeper Replacements for Iker Casillas at Real Madrid
The legendary Los Blancos goalkeeper has been restored by Carlo Ancelotti for cup matches, in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Diego Lopez has been between the sticks for league games, until Wednesday night's clash with Valladolid, to give Casillas more game time ahead of the Champions League final against rivals Atletico Madrid.
Casillas is not hugely likely to depart the club he loves, but whether he would be happy to continue along the same path next season is unknown.
If he were to leave Madrid, Ancelotti would have to bring in a replacement, either as an understudy to Lopez or to usurp him.
Here, we look at five possible replacements.
5. Levante's Keylor Navas
Levante goalkeeper Keylor Navas has been key in getting them into a mid-table position in La Liga.
His manager Joaquin Caparros hailed him after the team beat Atletico Madrid at the weekend.
As per Inside Spanish Football, Caparros said: "In key moments, Keylor Navas has helped us. To beat such a powerful opponent in capital letters, you have to be intense, show maximum efficiency and have a good goalkeeper."
Navas has excellent reflexes and has proven himself in La Liga.
He is good under pressure, keeping the team afloat even when Levante are under the cosh.
Admittedly this is unlikely to happen to Real Madrid in La Liga matches, but as we saw against Bayern Munich, Carlo Ancelotti is happy to sit back and soak up pressure.
4. Espanyol's Kiko Casilla
And not just because Kiko Casilla sounds like Iker Casillas.
The Espanyol goalkeeper is 27 years old and may welcome the chance to move to a bigger side.
He would be a good understudy to Alves and is a tidy performer.
Again, with a good knowledge of La Liga, Casilla would be a perfect player to add to the squad, should he decide to try pastures new.
3. Atletico/Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois
This would be the ideal signing for a number of reasons, although not a particularly likely one.
Thibaut Courtois is happy in Madrid, where he has been based for three years, on loan from Chelsea to Atletico.
He has shown that he is the best goalkeeper in La Liga and all at the young age of 21, soon to be 22.
His girlfriend is Spanish and he is settled in the capital.
Obviously, it will be difficult to convince Chelsea to let him go.
And to betray Atletico, where he has enjoyed himself, and play for Madrid is another big ask.
But he is likely to be among the greatest goalkeepers around for at least the next decade, barring bad luck with injuries.
2. Chelsea's Petr Cech
If Chelsea recall Thibaut Courtois, it raises interesting questions about what happens to Petr Cech.
He replaced Carlo Cudicini nearly a decade ago and Jose Mourinho may do the same thing to Cech with Courtois.
Cech loves life at Chelsea and will be sad to leave, but he is too good to be left sitting on the bench.
If he does leave, lots of top teams will be looking to sign him up.
Real Madrid may pounce for this proven winner.
1. Tottenham's Hugo Lloris
Hugo Lloris has had a superb season with Tottenham and must be dreaming of playing on a bigger stage than White Hart Lane and the Europa League.
Tottenham and Tim Sherwood have slapped a ridiculous price tag on him, but if there's a team willing to splash the cash, it's Real Madrid.
Sherwood said, as per the Metro: "He is one of the top goalies and unless someone is going to spend £100million on him, and keepers do not get bought for that money, I don’t think he will leave."
While Ancelotti wouldn't want his club to spend that much, he is, at 27, perfectly poised to move to a club like Madrid, become No. 1 and reign there for several more years.
It would not be a huge surprise if he left Tottenham in the summer and he could follow in the footsteps of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric to the Bernabeu if one of the current goalkeepers leave.
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