Spain manager Vicente del Bosque on Wednesday indicated that goalkeeper Iker Casillas was likely to be named in his squad for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June, despite not having played competitively since January. The Spanish captain broke a bone in his left hand whilst playing for Real Madrid against Valencia on 23 January and, despite returning to training in recent weeks, he has yet to win his place back in the side due to the impressive performances of Diego Lopez.
"The important thing is that he is recovering, he is training and we have time to take the decisions," Del Bosque said at a sponsors event in Barcelona. "I need to say that he is our player, one of the best that has represented us in more than 140 games and we have a lot of love for him. It is normal that he would be with us."
Whilst Del Bosque refused to get into a debate on whether Madrid boss Jose Mourinho was right to bench Casillas in favour of Lopez, he did have strong words for those that have questioned whether Casillas is now past his best.
If we look at what is best for Spanish football it would be fantastic for our country to have a Madrid-Barcelona final.
"We know that he is a legend of Spanish football, that no one has done what he has achieved, and then in 10 days he is put in an uncomfortable situation. I don't imagine that in England they would question (Peter) Shilton in this same situation or other players that have been legends with their national team.
"Therefore we have the obligation to protect the players that have given so much to the national side."
Del Bosque also said he was hoping for a Champions League final between Barcelona and Real Madrid and that he did not believe such a clash would have repercussions within the national team.
"If we look at what is best for Spanish football, for the national team, and also at club level it would be fantastic for our country to have a Madrid-Barcelona final.
"There has always been tension, it is not something that has happened in the past couple of years but they have to also have a well-understood rivalry. I think they have learned from the errors that happened in the past."