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Casillas Defends El Classico Absentees

Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has defended all the squad withdrawals from today’s friendly against Italy.

The Spanish season gets underway this weekend with the first leg of the Spanish Supercup at the Bernabeu on Sunday between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Real’s full-back Sergio Ramos was first to drop out of the Spain squad, followed closely by Barca’s Xavi, leading some to speculate that the two sides’ players were more interested in El Classico at the weekend than the international friendly in midweek.

“Sunday’s is an important match but those who are absent have genuine injuries, although it’s inevitable to err on the side of caution in such cases,” said Casillas. “However (Wednesday) night’s game is not just a friendly, it’s against an important and prestigious rival. We’re world champions and we’ve got everything to lose and little to gain but even so, my head is here and afterwards I’ll think about the Spanish Supercup on Sunday between Barcelona and Real Madrid.”