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The legendary former Blancos goalkeeper was edged towards the exits at Santiago Bernabeu by a Portuguese coach that he could not connect with

Real Madrid icon Iker Casillas admits to having butted heads with Jose Mourinho during the latter’s time in charge at Santiago Bernabeu, but the legendary goalkeeper claims to have “no hard feelings” towards the Portuguese.

A product of the Blancos’ academy system was edged towards the exits by an outspoken coach, with a 25-year association with the Liga giants eventually brought to a close in 2015.

Mourinho started that process by dropping Casillas – a man who made 725 appearances for Real – down the pecking order.

The World Cup winner did not take too kindly to that selection call and a spiky working relationship quickly broke down.

Casillas has made no secret of the fact that he disagreed with many of Mourinho’s methods, with those grievances aired on a regular basis, but there has been no long-standing feud between the pair and any differences were buried long ago.

Speaking at a TELMEX Telcel Foundation event in Mexico, Casillas, who has now slipped into retirement at 39 years of age, told reporters when quizzed about his troubles under Vicente del Bosque and Mourinho: “The two situations were different. One was justified in footballing terms and the other was something personal.

“We [Casillas and Del Bosque] got on well for a year-and-a-half and the next year we had disagreements, but that was normal between the captain and the coach.

“It doesn’t mean that you’re more important than the coach, but you’re going to end up having issues because you have to speak to him practically every day and the relationship starts to break down.

“Jose Mourinho thought that I wasn’t at the same level as my team-mate and, on top of that, our relationship wasn’t very good, so it was easier for him to choose between one or the other.

“There are a lot of things that people don’t see, but I have a good relationship with him. We’ve seen each other a few times since and we’ve had a nice chat.

“There are no hard feelings between us because both of us wanted the best for the team.

“I decided to not have much of a relationship with him because I didn’t like a lot of the things I was seeing and he chose to pick another keeper.

“This experience made me much more mature, at the age of 33.

“You try to not cause any more controversy than there already was at the club. I wouldn’t change anything, and I don’t think I made a mistake.”

Casillas won five La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns during his time with Real and brought the curtain down on the most distinguished of careers while on the books of Portuguese giants Porto.

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September 28, 2020
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