Casillas unruffled as Real struggle to strengthen

August 16, 2008

Iker Casillas is unconcerned by Real Madrid's lack of transfer activity this summer, believing they already have a squad capable of challenging for the Champions League.

Madrid have conquered Europe a record nine times but their last success came back in 2002 and they have lost at the first knockout stage in each of the last four years, going down to Juventus, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and then to Roma last term.

With back-to-back Primera Liga titles in the bag, Madrid's holy grail this season will be to reclaim their crown as kings of Europe, but it remains to be seen if the Spanish giants can improve on last year considering they will have virtually the same squad.

Leaving aside youngsters Ruben de la Red and Javi Garcia, who have returned to the club following loan spells away, Rafael van der Vaart is currently the only new face at the Bernabeu this summer.

But Casillas is unmoved about the lack of arrivals.

When quizzed about the possible need to make more additions for a successful tilt at Europe, Casillas said: 'Last year we had bad luck against Roma, being without Robinho, Ramos, Robben...it's the coach who has to take the decisions. For me, we are fine.'

Despite that though, Spain's Euro 2008-winning captain was keen to play down expectations of a Champions League triumph, pointing out that not so long ago Madrid were incapable of winning anything, let alone being the best team in Europe.

'Subconsciously, after six years without winning the Champions League, you are anxious to win in Europe again. But you need to stop and think for a second, and see that we have won two leagues after going four years without a title,' he said.

'Everybody aspires for more, but we need to take it step by step. If this year we are only able to win the Copa del Rey, that would also be important.

'The reality is that of the four titles that we play for this season, as a minimum we need to win one.'

The first title up for grabs will be the Spanish Supercopa, where league champions Madrid travel to Copa del Rey winners Valencia on Sunday for the first leg.

Regarding that trophy, Casillas said: 'It's an odd tournament. If you win then it doesn't really matter and if you lose you are criticised. But if I had to lose the Supercopa to win the league, then I would settle for that right now.'

Madrid may not have made many alterations to their squad this pre-season but there is still plenty of media speculation about possible ins and outs.

One of those players whose future is up for debate at the minute is Brazil winger Robinho, who reportedly wants to leave Madrid and join Chelsea.

Casillas insists he knows nothing of that but admits he holds the 24-year-old in very high regard.

'I don't know if he wants to go or not, he has not said anything to me,' he told AS.

'He is a very good player and a good kid. I value him very highly. He is a star, young and with bright future. He's a guy who can make a difference in a game.'