New Spain coach Julen Lopetegui effectively brought the curtain down on Iker Casillas’ record breaking career as the goalkeeper of the Spanish national side on Friday when he left him out of his squad to face Belgium and Liechtenstein in his first matches in charge.
In place of Casillas, who has made 167 appearances for his country, but was substitute to David de Gea in this summer’ s European Championships, Lopetegui has handed a first call up to West Ham keeper, Adrian and given a surprise recall to Pepe Reina, who had not been included in a squad since the 2104 World Cup finals.
Casillas is not the only big name player to be dropped with Cesc Fabrigas and Pedro Rodriguez also left out of the 24-man squad, while Sergio Rico, Juanfran, Aritz Aduriz and Mikel San Jose also lose their places following the European Championships.
To replace them the new coach has handed a recall to Diego Costa, Paco Alcacer, who is on the verge of joining FC Barcelona, and Juan Mata, while Sergi Roberto will get his chance at right back and Real Madrid youngster Marcos Asensio is rewarded for his excellent start to the season.
Lopetegui told the press that although he was not closing the door on Casillas, who he described as an “icon” and a “reference point” for the Spanish game, he considered De Gea to be his first choice keeper at the moment.
“I explained to him my motives for not calling him up and he understood them,” said the coach.