Casillas angry about England Bernabeu boycott

October 14, 2008

Spain captain Iker Casillas has branded suggestions England should not play a friendly at Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium "completely stupid".

The Football Association have advised their Spanish counterparts that an international, pencilled in for next February, should not be staged at the 90,000-capacity home of Real Madrid after England players were subjected to racist abuse there in 2005.

England coach Fabio Capello, a former Real boss who asked for next year's friendly to be arranged, distanced himself from the FA's actions today.

But the English governing body's fears of playing in Madrid were indirectly validated by UEFA this morning when they demanded Atletico play their next two Champions League games 200 miles away from the capital after violent and racist incidents involving their fans during the recent match against Marseille at the nearby Vicente Calderon.

But Casillas, who is also captain of Real, insists the FA's reluctance to play in the city is laughable.

"That really does seem like a joke and completely stupid to me," he told AS.

"At every stadium there are heartless people who shout against everything and everyone, but you can't generalise, and even less with the crowd at the Bernabeu who have always shown their respect and their love for good football."

Arsenal and Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas took a more diplomatic line and claimed the issue had been blown out of all proportion.

"I wasn't in the squad when that game was played, but we should be playing it down," he said of the 2005 incident when supporters at the Bernabeu aimed monkey chants at England's black players.

"The fans go to support the national team. That happened in that moment and that's it."