Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has leapt to the defence of Spain No1 Iker Casillas and expressed his surprise that anyone would doubt his "impeccable" rival.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque is spoilt for choice between the posts with Valdes and Liverpool's Jose 'Pepe' Reina to choose from as well as Real Madrid's Casillas. Casillas, the undisputed first choice in recent years, has come under fire this week after his error on Saturday gifted Saudi Arabia the opening goal in Saturday's 3-2 warm-up friendly win.
But Valdes insists UEFA EURO 2008 winner Casillas remains the main man. "His record is impeccable and I would not understand those who cast doubt on his quality," said the uncapped 28-year-old. "Iker has a spotless record. He has achieved everything and probably will get more titles.
"For me it is fortunate to have two colleagues like Iker and Pepe to help me work and improve," Valdes went on. "The squad benefits from this. We should respect everyone and not speak of one as better than the other. It's lucky for everyone that we have this level of goalkeepers in the squad and, for me, having them as colleagues too."
Valdes also played down talk of a rift between himself and Reina, his former Barςa youth team-mate. "There is no problem," he said. "We have spoken and it is just to the contrary - we have always got on very well. There is no close friendship, since we went separate ways in our youth, but the idea that we have a bad relationship is totally false."
The European champions are currently training in Austria in preparation for the finals. Del Bosque's side continue their build-up with a friendly against South Korea in Innsbruck on Thursday. Liverpool striker Fernando Torres sat out training this morning as a precaution, with the 26-year-old not yet fully fit after knee surgery.