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Diego Maradona Defends Mourinho's Decision to Bench Casillas In Wake of Wold Cup Dutch Thrashing

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By Christine Jane Caparras | June 16, 2014 3:03 PM EST

Diego Maradona has gone on the record to defend his friend Jose Mourinho in his decision to bench Iker Casillas in Spanish La Liga games during his stint with Real Madrid. The statement came after Casillas' poor showing in the Spanish Team's opeing match against Holland in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Reuters
Iker Casillas reacts after the Netherlands score a goal in their match against Spain in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Jose Mourinho faced a lot of heat from fans and players when he decided to bench Iker Casillas in the Spanish La Liga last year when he was still at the helm for Real Madrid. Since then, Mourinho has returned to Chelsea amid growing tension in the team. Carlo Ancelotti has taken over at Real Madrid, leading the Spanish giants to a UEFA Champions League Victory which they almost lost by literally the skin of their teeth when Atlético led by one goal up until the 93rd minute. The lone Atlético goal was blamed largely on Iker Casillas and his carelessness on the line.

Sergio Ramos scored a life-saving header in stoppage time to equalize and let the match go into stoppage time which allowed Real to eventually take the lead and win with a decisive 4-1 scoreline.

Holland was always going to be a threat since the Oranje were looking for revenge after their loss in the final match of the 2010 World Cup against Spain. The defending champions faced a rematch of that fateful final match as their opening outing for their title defence. Instead of stamping their authority on the pitch, Spain were put to school by the Dutch team who put five brilliant goals past Casillas. Meanwhile, Spain's loan goal came off a slightly controversial penalty won by Diego Costa.

In the wake of that match and last Saturday's thrashing received by the Spanish National Team from Holland, legendary Argentine player Diego Maradona has expressed his support to his friend Mourinho's decision to bench Casillas since last year.

"I'd like to recall the words of my friend Mourinho who said that Casillas was no longer his first-choice keeper and it cost him dearly. He had to leave Real Madrid. Tonight's events showed that Mourinho was right," said Maradona in an interview with Victor Hugo Morales in the TV show "De Zurda."

Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie scored two goals each and Stefan de Vrij completed five goals for the Dutch side. Robin Van Persie's header which flew over Casillas' head and beyond his reach has become viral with the Dutchman being compared to superman and other forms of aircraft.

Casillas and the defending champions will have a chance to redeem themselves and keep the title defence alive on Wednesday when they go up against Chile in Rio de Janeiro.

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(Photo: Reuters / Marcos Brindicci)
Iker Casillas reacts after the Netherlands score a goal in their match against Spain in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil
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