Rotation of Casillas and Lopez Makes Perfect Sense Ahead of Champions League

Paul WilkesFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 22:  Iker Casillas (L) and Diego Lopez during a training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B match against Juventus, at Valdebebas training ground on October 22, 2013 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

At the start of the season it was the hot topic at the Bernabeu and the surrounding areas. The supporters, media and former players alike were split on a conclusion.

There were times when those opinions were based on political connotations, heroic statuses and friendship rather than performances, ability or form.

Last year it was used as a criticism of Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese manager started the whole debate off and few thought it would continue once he was gone.

Speaking at the time on how he was going to deal with Iker Casillas, via the Daily Mail, Carlo Ancelotti said:

I spoke to him prior to the first (La Liga) match and I want to do so again in the coming days to explain the situation.

Iker hasn't talked to us about leaving. I don't think he's going to leave. We need two very good goalkeepers for this season. Diego's playing at this time, but I'm sure that Casillas will have a chance to play this season.

The Italian has been true to his word, Casillas has played in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, whilst Diego Lopez has continued to be the No. 1 in the league.

Via ESPN, Casillas said:

If the boss has decided that I'm to play in the Copa and the Champions League then I want to do the best I can to help the team and play well.

It's been going on for a few months, and we aren't always going to be in this situation. Up until now the gaffer has gone with Diego in the league and he is playing very well.

It's an unorthodox way to treat goalkeepers and not in line with the majority of clubs throughout the world. Few can question his judgement now, however, as the club can still accomplish a treble this season.

If they were to achieve that, then it would be the biggest triumph of any manager adopting that approach. It isn't a revolutionary method, but none will have achieved such significant results.

In recent times Manchester United did it with David De Gea and Anders Lindegaard, although that felt like the two youngsters were auditioning for the role. Valencia also alternated Vicente Guaita and Diego Alves in a variety of different sequences.

There will be invariably talk about one of them leaving in the summer transfer window, but there is no reason why this success can't continue.

"I have said it many times: I have three years left on my contract and unless they kick me out – just joking, by the way - I'm staying," Lopez said at a film premiere, via Marca. "I'm very happy here and will continue fighting for everything."

The club's cup runs mean that both players have benefited immensely from the rotation, and now with an almost four-week gap in the Champions League, Ancelotti has revised his system slightly.

Speaking on Saturday to AFP, per, Ancelotti said:

I have spoken with them and they are both in agreement. I have taken the decision because Casillas needs to play this month. I didn't think it was fair to leave him out for a month to prepare for the final.

That means Casillas will make his La Liga season debut against Real Valladolid. This decision will ensure he is fresh for the trip to Lisbon and is mentally fit for the occasion.

The relationship between the two goalkeepers should remain healthy as competitive training sessions help prepare them for the biggest few weeks of the campaign.